Quantcast

Reduced $78M Monsanto Verdict Accepted, Setting Stage for Appeal

Health + Wellness
Plaintiff Dewayne Johnson is dying of cancer. He looks on after hearing the verdict to his case against Monsanto at the Superior Court Of California in San Francisco, California, on August 10, 2018, before the award was reduced to $78 million. Josh Edelson / POOL / AFP / Getty Images

A California groundskeeper who won a landmark cancer trial against Roundup-maker Monsanto has agreed to accept $78 million, a significant reduction from the jury's original award of $289 million, the Associated Press reported.

A new trial would have taken place if plaintiff DeWayne "Lee" Johnson did not accept the lessened damages ordered by Judge Suzanne Bolanos of San Francisco's Superior Court of California last week.


On Oct. 26, Johnson's attorneys filed a notice of acceptance of the judge's decision.

"We appreciate and acknowledge this jury's verdict sending a strong message to deter Monsanto's conduct that caused Lee Johnson's non-Hodgkin lymphoma," according to a statement from the lawyers. "However, to hopefully achieve a final resolution within his lifetime, Mr. Johnson has accepted the punitive dames reduction suggested by Judge Bolanos."

In August, a jury unanimously decided that Johnson had developed cancer from exposure to Monsanto's widely used glyphosate-based weedkillers, and awarded him $39 million in compensatory and $250 million in punitive damages.

[Read how the judge lowered damages from $250 million to $78 million.]

Much of the plaintiff's case was based on the International Agency for Research on Cancer's classification that glyphosate is a "probable human carcinogen."

Johnson, who was diagnosed in 2014 with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, is now near death according to his doctors, NPR reported.

Monsanto tried to toss out the jury's overall verdict, but Judge Bolanos affirmed the liability portion of the verdict while significantly slashing the punitive damages to match Johnson's $39 million compensatory award.

Bayer, which purchased Monsanto this year and is facing more than 8,700 U.S. lawsuits over glyphosate, has defended the safety of the herbicides and vowed to appeal the case.

"The court's decision to reduce the punitive damage award by more than $200 million is a step in the right direction," Bayer told AFP inquiry at the time of the judge's ruling.

"But we continue to believe that the liability verdict and damage awards are not supported by the evidence at trial or the law and plan to file an appeal with the California Court of Appeal."

Johnson's lawyers said they expected the company to fight back.

"We expect Monsanto to appeal, notwithstanding, so we will address all issues regarding the verdict and the amount of damages at the Court of Appeals," they stated.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

California Condor at soaring at the Grand Canyon. Pavliha / iStock / Getty Images

North America's largest bird passed an important milestone this spring when the 1,000th California condor chick hatched since recovery efforts began, NPR reported Sunday.

Read More Show Less
The Roloway monkey has been pushed closer to extinction. Sonja Wolters / WAPCA / IUCN

The statistics around threatened species are looking grim. A new report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has added more than 9,000 new additions to its Red List of threatened species, pushing the total number of species on the list to more than 105,000 for the first time, according to the Guardian.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP / Getty Images

The campaign to re-elect President Donald Trump has found a new way to troll liberals and sea turtles.

Read More Show Less
Night long exposure photograph of wildifires in Santa Clarita, California. FrozenShutter / E+ / Getty Images

By Kristy Dahl

Last week, UCS released Killer Heat, a report analyzing how the frequency of days with a dangerously hot heat index — the combination of temperature and humidity the National Weather Service calls the "feels like" temperature — will change in response to the global emissions choices we make in the coming decades.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A Zara store in Times Square, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Timahaowemi / CC BY-SA 3.0

Green is the new black at Zara.

The Spanish fast fashion behemoth has made a bold move to steer its industry to a more environmentally friendly future for textiles. Inditex, Zara's parent company, announced that all the polyester, cotton and linen it uses will be sustainably produced by 2025, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD

Whether you enjoy running recreationally, competitively, or as part of your overall wellness goals, it's a great way to improve your heart health.

Read More Show Less
Text from the plaque that will mark the site where Ok glacier once was. Rice University

By Andrea Germanos

A climate change victim in Iceland is set to be memorialized with a monument that underscores the urgent crisis.

Read More Show Less