On Aug. 10, 2018, a California state jury unanimously found that Monsanto’s glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer caused plaintiff Dewayne “Lee” Johnson to develop a type of cancer called non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). The jury also found that Monsanto failed to appropriately warn Roundup users of this potential health hazard. Evidence used in the trial included previously confidential records revealing Monsanto executives’ alleged attempts to discredit the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) 2015 classification of glyphosate as a probable carcinogen.
In the original ruling, the jury awarded Johnson $289 million in total damages, including $250 million in punitive damages. In October 2018, the trial judge lowered the total amount to $78 million. Unsurprisingly, Monsanto has been pushing for the entire jury decision to be thrown out. Now, Johnson’s lawyers have filed a new brief regarding the case almost exactly one year after the original ruling.
In the recently released brief, Johnson’s lawyers condemn Monsanto’s deceptive actions, reiterate the suffering experienced by Johnson due to his NHL diagnosis, and call for the original award to be reinstated: “Johnson is suffering from extremely painful, disfiguring lesions all over his body, a consequence of the fatal NHL induced by Roundup. In light of the high reprehensibility of Monsanto’s behavior, the deathly harm to Johnson, and the high net worth of Monsanto, the punitive damages award of $250 million dollars awarded by the jury comports with due process and should be upheld.”
Two additional Roundup trials have gone to court since Johnson’s case, with the juries ruling against Monsanto and awarding plaintiffs enormous sums both times. Additionally, there are about 18,400 other lawsuits against Monsanto alleging that Roundup gave them non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and that Monsanto has been covering up the cancer risk for decades.
The long-term repercussions of the alleged link between Roundup and cancer are still ongoing. Less than two weeks prior to the brief’s release, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would not approve warning labels on glyphosate-based products. This came after California regulators, largely prompted by the mounting lawsuits, voted to add glyphosate to a state-maintained list of chemicals that cause cancer. The warning labels were originally going to appear in the summer of 2018, but Monsanto challenged the decision in court. Now, the EPA has taken action on federal level to prevent the warning labels’ arrival, a decision that has received heavy criticism by environmental advocates. Ultimately, it appears that the future of Roundup may lie in the hands of upcoming jurors.
If you or a loved one has developed cancer after being exposed to glyphosates, please give the lawyers at Childers, Schlueter, & Smith a call at 800-641-0098 or fill out our online contact form. All initial inquiries are free of charge and without obligation.
A partner with Childers, Schlueter & Smith, LLC,, Brandon Smith has devoted his practice to pharmaceutical litigation, mass torts, products liability and serious personal injury. A frequent guest speaker at legal seminars all over the country—Brandon is focused on helping injured victims nationwide, however possible. Named a SuperLawyer again in 2019, he has also been called out as one of 10 Best Attorneys For Georgia by the American Institute Of Personal Injury Attorneys and a Top 100 Lawyer in Georgia by the National Trial Lawyers in 2019.