This Time, A Federal Jury Hits Monsanto with $80 Million Verdict

In August 2018 (TNB) a San Francisco jury hit Monsanto and its owner Bayer with a $289 million verdict.

From the beginning it was like a story of David taking on Goliath.
On Friday, in a San Francisco court, with his head in his hands, plaintiff Dewayne Johnson, a former school groundskeeper in the San Francisco Bay Area school district who is dying from terminal cancer known as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, reacts to the judgement handed down in his favor against the agriculture giant Monsanto totaling $289,000,000, CNN reports.

David has won the battle, but not without a cost, a heavy one, and one he probably would have preferred had never happened.

Johnson’s case against Monsanto alleged their product Roundup, a well-known herbicide weed killer, which contains the chemical glyphosate as its base, can be carcinogenic and that Monsanto knew of the potential risks and failed to adequately warn consumers.

[Though later, in November, a judge reduced Mr. Johnson’s verdict to $78 million and Mr. Johnson agreed to the lesser amount, his lawyer Timothy Litzenburg said Mr. Johnson has “not seen much of it because Monsanto is appealing.”]

“Mr. Johnson’s case against Monsanto is the first in a long list of plaintiffs who have filed against Monsanto. Last year CNN reported there are more than 800 cases filed against Monsanto for the same allegations.”

It wasn’t just that it was about glyphosate alone, but that a cocktail of chemicals along with “animal fats and other ingredients” when mixed together with glyphosate “that increase the carcinogenicity of the glyphosate.”

The BBC reports on the case, saying, “jurors found that the company had acted with “malice” and that it should have provided a label warning.”
In the end the jury sided with Mr. Johnson awarding him $250 million for punitive damages and another approximately $39 million for compensatory damages.

Johnson’s lawyers say this case was “the tip of the spear” and that they have close to 500 of them and it wouldn’t surprise him “if there are 2,000 to 3,000 by the end of the year.”

“This is the most-used herbicide in the world…from the largest farm operations to backyard gardens. It’s ubiquitous.”


On Wednesday, CNN reported that now a federal jury had hit Monsanto and Bayer with an $80 million verdict for the plaintiff Edwin Hardeman saying, “Roundup was a substantial factor in causing Hardeman’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma.”

Hardeman’s case is the first to have been tried in a federal court.

(CNN) – A federal jury has awarded $80 million to a California man after determining that Monsanto is liable and that its popular weedkiller Roundup was a substantial factor in causing his cancer.

The jury in San Francisco awarded compensatory damages at $5.27 million and punitive damages of $75 million to the plaintiff, Edwin Hardeman.

During the first phase of the trial, the jury dealt a blow to Monsanto last week, saying Roundup was a substantial factor in causing Hardeman’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The second phase focused on the question whether Monsanto is liable.


CBS reported last week on phase one.

Bayer released a statement and has said they will appeal the verdict.

“We are disappointed with the jury’s decision, but this verdict does not change the weight of over four decades of extensive science and the conclusions of regulators worldwide that support the safety of our glyphosate-based herbicides and that they are not carcinogenic. The verdict in this trial has no impact on future cases and trials, as each one has its own factual and legal circumstances.”

“We have great sympathy for Mr. Hardeman and his family. Bayer stands behind these products and will vigorously defend them,” according to the company’s statement.


Litzenburg now say he and other attorneys “have more than 4,000 similar cases awaiting trial in various state courts.”

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