A $289 Million Verdict Shakes up Monsanto—Signals Good News for Roundup Victims

by Terry Bryant

As consumers, we expect the everyday products we buy off store shelves to be safe. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Thousands of people who bought the popular weed-killer Roundup believe that the product gave them cancer. And on August 10, a jury agreed with the first of the cancer victims to have their day in court.

The San Francisco jury awarded a stunning $289 million in damages to a man with terminal cancer who had regularly used Roundup as part of his job. Dewayne Johnson, who was a groundskeeper for a school district in the San Francisco area, applied Roundup 20 to 30 times a year. Twice he accidentally soaked himself with the product. Two years after the first soaking accident, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; today he sometimes has trouble speaking, and lesions from the disease cover 80% of his body.

In addition to Johnson, thousands of other people have filed suits against Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup, alleging that the product gave them or a loved one non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or another cancer. Johnson’s case was the first to go to trial because of his advanced illness. This first lawsuit win signals good news for all the Roundup victims as it is likely to set a precedent for more verdicts to come.

Roundup is one of the most commonly used herbicides in the world. It is sold in more than 160 countries and is widely used by farmers, professional gardeners, homeowners, and others. The key considerations about the product that were examined during the trial were whether it causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers and whether Monsanto has failed to warn users about Roundup’s cancer risk. In the Johnson case, the jury ruled against the company on both questions.

Monsanto has long maintained that Roundup does not cause cancer, citing scientific studies and its approval for use by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The company continued to stand by its assertion following the verdict in the Johnson case. But the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer says otherwise. In 2015, the agency stated that the herbicide glyphosate, which is the main ingredient in Roundup, is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” The agency further said that for glyphosate, “there was limited evidence of carcinogenicity for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.”

Medically it may be impossible to prove that Johnson’s cancer and the illnesses of the thousands of other sufferers was caused by Roundup alone. However, Monsanto was also unable to disprove it. For this reason and because of the sheer number of cancer cases that are being linked to the herbicide, we at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law are investigating cases where Roundup users have been diagnosed with cancer. Our goal is to help victims and their families get the compensation they deserve.

If you have used Roundup in the past and believe your non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or other cancer is related to its use, it’s important to talk to a product liability lawyer as soon as possible.

Contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law today to schedule a free consultation.