Dying man asks California Supreme Court to restore jury award in Monsanto Roundup case

School guard who won first-ever lawsuit over allegations Monsanto’s Roundup causes cancer asks California Supreme Court to restore $ 250 million in punitive damages awarded by jury that heard his case, but which was later reduced by an appeals court to $ 20.5 million.

Notably, plaintiff Dewayne “Lee” Johnson’s appeal has more important implications than his own individual case. Johnson’s attorney urges court to remedy a legal twist that may leave people like Johnson who risk short-term death with lower damages than others are expected to live many years in suffering and pain.

“It is high time for California courts to recognize, as other courts do, that life itself has value and that those who maliciously deprive a plaintiff of years of life should be required to fully compensate this. complainant and be punished accordingly, ”Johnson’s lawyers said. wrote in their request for review by the state Supreme Court. “The jury placed significant value on Mr. Johnson’s life, and they are grateful for that. He asks this Court to respect the jury’s decision and to restore that value. “

A unanimous jury found in August 2018 that exposure to Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicides, better known under the brand name Roundup, had caused Johnson to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The jury further found that Monsanto acted to mask the risks of its products in such egregious behavior that the company would have to pay Johnson $ 250 million in punitive damages in addition to the $ 39 million in compensatory damages. past and future.

On appeal from Monsanto, acquired by German company Bayer AG in 2018, the trial judge reduced the $ 289 million to $ 78 million. Monsanto has appealed to seek either a new trial or reduced compensation. Johnson cross-appealed seeking restoration of his full damages.

The appeals court in the case then reduced the amount to $ 20.5 million, citing that Johnson was only to live for a short time.

The court of appeal reduced the amount of damages despite finding that there was “abundant” evidence that glyphosate, along with the other ingredients in Roundup products, caused Johnson’s cancer and that “it there was overwhelming evidence that Johnson suffered and will continue to suffer for the rest. of his life, great pain and suffering.

The Johnson trial received media coverage around the world and highlighted Monsanto’s efforts to manipulate the scientific dossier on glyphosate and Roundup and its efforts to silence critics and influence regulators. Johnson’s attorneys have presented jurors with internal company emails and other documents showing Monsanto scientists discussing ghost science articles in an attempt to bolster support for the safety of the company’s products, as well. that communications detailing plans to discredit critics and overturn a government assessment of the toxicity of glyphosate, the key chemical in Monsanto’s products.

Johnson’s trial victory sparked a frantic filing of tens of thousands more lawsuits. Monsanto lost three out of three lawsuits before agreeing in June to pay more than $ 10 billion to settle nearly 100,000 of these claims.

However, the settlement is still evolving, as Bayer grapples with how to prevent future litigation.

In an interview, Johnson said he knew the legal battle with Monsanto could continue for many years to come, but was determined to try to hold the company accountable. He has managed to control his disease so far with regular chemotherapy and radiation treatments, but he is not sure how long it will continue.

“I don’t think an amount would be enough to punish this company,” Johnson said.

About Jessica J. Bass

Check Also

$200 million jury award reaffirmed after court denies…

(MENAFN-EIN Presswire) Ryan Batchelder’s parents with lawyers Don Fountain, Drew Ashby, Julie Littky-Rubin, Ben Whitman, …