Monsanto ordered to pay $289m damages to cancer victim

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A California jury ordered chemical giant Monsanto to pay almost $290 million Friday for failing to warn a dying groundskeeper that its weed killer Roundup might cause cancer.

"This verdict proves that when ordinary citizens, in this case a jury of 12, hear the facts about Monsanto's products, and the lengths to which this company has gone to buy off scientists, deceive the public and influence government regulatory agencies, there is no confusion", said Ronnie Cummins, OCA's global director. A California jury found Monsanto acted with "malice" and that its weed killers Roundup and the professional grade version RangerPro contributed "substantially" to Dewayne Johnson's terminal illness.

It's the first lawsuit to go to trial alleging a glyphosate link to cancer.

Records unsealed earlier by a federal court lent credence to Johnson's claims - internal company emails with regulators suggested Monsanto had ghostwritten research later attributed to academics. Another trial is set to take place in October in St Louis and roughly 4,000 plaintiffs have claims pending with the potential outcomes resulting in many more hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars in damage awards.

"The jury got it wrong", the company's vice-president Scott Partridge told reporters outside the courthouse. Johnson's doctors said he is unlikely to live past 2020.

"There's 4000 other cases filed around the United States and there are countless thousand other people out there who are suffering from cancer because Monsanto didn't give them a choice".

The company has denied ties between glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, and cancer.

A spokesman for Monsanto, the company behind Roundup, said the agribusiness will appeal the ruling. - The jury ordered agrochemical giant Monsanto to pay almost $290 million for failing to warn a dying groundskeeper that its weed killer Roundup might cause cancer.

He confirmed the company will appeal the decision "and continue to vigorously defend this product, which has a 40-year history of safe use and continues to be a vital, effective, and safe tool for farmers and others".

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Mr Johnson's lawyers said he sprayed Roundup and a similar product, Ranger Pro, in large quantities as a pest control manager at a San Francisco Bay Area school district.

When using the product in windy conditions it would come into contact with his face, while on one occasion he was left soaked in the weedkiller when a hose broke.

"Roundup could cause cancer", Johnson's lawyer Brent Wisner said in a statement, according to The Guardian.

The Superior Court jury deliberated for two and a half days before finding that Dewayne Johnson's non-Hodgkin lymphoma was at least partly due to using glyphosate, the primary ingredient in Roundup.

"The simple fact is he is going to die".

"The science finally caught up, where they couldn't bury it anymore", Wisner told the jury in closing arguments.

'I understand that we all have sympathy for Mr Johnson, certainly the jury had sympathy for Mr Johnson, but that should not change the manner in which legal decisions are made.

Mr Johnson was diagnosed in 2014 with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma - a cancer that affects white blood cells - used RangerPro as part of his work at a school in Benicia, California.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in September 2017 concluded a decades-long assessment of glyphosate risks and found the chemical not likely carcinogenic to humans. California added glyphosate to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer.

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