Terminally ill man awarded $289 million in lawsuit against Monsanto

Terminally ill man awarded $289 million in lawsuit against Monsanto
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A terminally ill man has been awarded $289 million in the first cancer-related trial against agricultural giant Monsanto.

Dewyane Johnson, 46, claimed in the lawsuit that his non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was caused by his use of Roundup weedkiller and one other Monsanto product during his work as a school groundskeeper.

The jury in a San Francisco Superior Court on Friday unanimously ordered the company to award Johnson $250 million in punitive damages and $39 million in compensatory damages, according to the Associated Press.

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Johnson thanked the jury and said that he thinks his case will set a precedent for the thousands of other cancer patients taking legal action the company.

“I’m glad to be here to be able to help in a cause that’s way bigger than me,” he said, according to the AP.

The jury said that the packaging of the product should have indicated the risks of using it. The Environmental Protection Agency says Roundup is safe to use if label directions are followed properly, though the World Health Organization has classified the product’s active ingredient as a “probable human carcinogen.”

Monsanto pushed back on the verdict, vowing to appeal the case.

“We are sympathetic to Mr. Johnson and his family,” said company spokesman Scott Partridge. “We will appeal this 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.”