Published: Sun, August 12, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Monsanto must pay $289m in damages over herbicide cancer case

Monsanto must pay $289m in damages over herbicide cancer case

On Friday, Monsanto was ordered to pay $289m (£226m) damages to a man who claimed the products caused his cancer. And it said it would get rid of the Monsanto company name following the merger, while brand names on products would remain. It was acquired by Bayer for more than $62 billion in June.

Meanwhile, Johnson told reporters he now hopes the shock verdict will encourage others to pursue their own lawsuits against the company.

Johnson's case was the first to go to trial because he's near death, and in California, dying plaintiffs can be granted expedited trials, according to the report. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2014, and in July 2017, after chemotherapy and other treatments, his oncologist gave him six months to live. He regularly used a form of RangerPro while working at a school in Benicia, California. Although not involved in the just-concluded trial, the firm represents more than 100 clients now with similar claims.

"It is the most widely used and most widely studied herbicide in the world", Partridge said.

More than 2m hectares (5m acres) of farmland across Britain are treated with glyphosate annually, according to a study of government data by Oxford Economics.

Glyphosate was introduced by Monsanto in 1974, but its patent expired in 2000, and now the chemical is sold by various manufacturers.

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A spokesperson for B&Q said: "We continually aim to manage our garden products responsibly and have a record of acting ahead of legislation where appropriate; we led the way in removing three pesticides in 2013 and neonicotinoids from our flowering plants in 2018".

It came after the France-based International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, said in 2015 that glyphosate was a "probable human carcinogen".

After labeling glyphosate a "possible human carcinogen" in 1985, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reversed its position on the chemical in 1991.

Monsanto issued a statement saying they were sympathetic to the former groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson and his family, but denied glyphosate caused his cancer.

According to the Science Media Centre, the European Union recently voted to renew the licence for glyphosate for another five years after 18 months of acrimonious debate among member states.

Jurors in California's Superior Court agreed the product contributed to Dewayne Johnson's cancer and the company should have provided a label warning of the potential health hazard.

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What happened in the groundsman case?

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Following an eight-week trial, the jury ordered the company to pay $250m in punitive damages together with other costs that brought the total figure to nearly $290m.

"I'm glad to be here to help with the situation after I learned about Roundup and glyphosate and everything", said Johnson after the verdict.

"When you are right, it is really easy to win", he said, adding that the ruling was just "the tip of the spear" of future legal cases.

"This jury found Monsanto acted with malice and oppression because they knew what they were doing was wrong and doing it with reckless disregard for human life", said Robert F Kennedy Jr, a member of Mr Johnson's legal team.

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