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U.S. jury awards 289 Million USD in lawsuit against Monsanto

NEW YORK – On last Friday, a U.S. jury in the city of San Francisco, California has awarded a man critically ill with cancer $289 million U.S. dollars in damages in a case against agricultural giant Monsanto.

According to court’s documents, Dewayne Johnson, a 46 year old man who doctors say is near death, sued the Monsanto, arguing that the agricultural company’s product Roundup has led to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in him.

U.S. jury awards man with cancer 289 Million USD in lawsuit against Monsanto.  Will African nations where Monsanto operates or sent its products also file lawsuits?

Johnson, a father of two children, applied the company’s herbicide 20 to 30 times per year while working as a school groundskeeper in the San Francisco Bay Area, his attorneys said. There were also occasions when he was soaked with the product, according to CNN.

After three days of reviewing the case, the U.S. jury ruled that Monsanto should pay Johnson 250 million dollars in punitive damages and 39 million dollars in compensatory damages. The jury maintain that Monsanto should have warned users about the dangers of its Roundup and Ranger Pro weedkillers.

A report by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said in 2015 that the key ingredient in Roundup, namely glyphosate, is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

According to research sources, Glyphosate is herbicide brought to market use in 1974 by Monsanto and is currently sold by various manufacturers as its patent has expired.

The World Health Organization’s report has since prompted a mounting number of lawsuits against Monsanto. Johnson’s case is the first to have been tried as dying plaintiffs can be granted expedited trials in California. Hundreds more are pending, according to National Public Radio.

“We all have sympathy for Mr. Johnson,” Scott Partridge, vice president of Monsanto said, adding that glyphosate is not the answer Johnson has been looking for to his disease, according to CNN.

“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,” Monsanto’s statement said.

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Paul Stevens

Paul Stevens is a researcher, media issues analyst and senior contributor with Globe Afrique.
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