San Francisco jurors just declared that Roundup, the most popular weed killer in the world, gave a former school groundskeeper terminal cancer.
So they awarded him $289 million in damages.
Dewayne Johnson, 46 who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014 and he has just weeks to live was awarded $250 million in punitive damages, plus nearly $40m in compensatory damages, bringing the total to $289m.
In a press conference on Friday evening, Johnson thanked his legal team, his wife, Araceli, and their two sons.
He said: ‘’It’s taken a lot of prayer, I’ve taken energy from a lot of people. I’m glad to be here to help. Hopefully, this thing will start to get the attention it needs. This case is way bigger than me.’’
Johnson’s wife spent 14 hours a day working two jobs, lawyer Brent Wisner told the press conference. She was working when her husband’s verdict came through.
When Johnson’s compensation is released he hopes to use it to enable him to spend more time with him and their children, Wisner said.
He may also use it to fund a bone marrow transplant. Johnson, who may have just weeks to live, won’t get money until appeal finished
Monsanto vice president Scott Partridge said the company would appeal the verdict to “vigorously defend this product”, claiming hundreds of studies showed the herbicide does not cause cancer.
Mr Partridge told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Saturday, “We all have sympathy for what Mr Johnson is going through; cancer is a terrible disease,”
“I’ll tell you that this verdict doesn’t change the four-plus decades of safe use and science behind the product.
“There have been over 800 medical scientific peer review published studies that have established there is no link whatsoever between glyphosate and adverse health effects, much less cancer.”
Roundup is one of the country’s most popular weed killer brands, while glyphosate herbicides are the most widely used herbicide in UK agriculture.
Environmentalists claim that the weedkiller is linked to cancer, although the claim is strongly denied by manufacturers and the EU has approved the chemical for use.
Dewayne testified on the stand that he would have ‘never’ sprayed Ranger-Pro if he knew it would cause harm.
He said: ‘’I would’ve never sprayed that product on school grounds or around people if I knew it would cause them harm,’’
‘’It’s unethical, it’s wrong. I have children who go to school. People I don’t deserve that. They deserve better.’’