The plaintiff was Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, a 46-year-old who is so close to death that doctors didn’t think he’d live to see the verdict. They were wrong, as the jury returned the favorable ruling in 3 days, which could spell trouble ahead for Monsanto, which currently faces about 4,000 similar claims.
The trial was an important test of the evidence against Monsanto and will serve as a template for litigating the other cases, according to Carey Gillam, an investigative journalist and author of the new book, “Whitewash,” which details the history of Monsanto and glyphosate.
“The case is historic,” Gillam told FOX Business. “It is the first time secrets from within Monsanto have been laid bare in a public court of law for all to scrutinize,” Gillam says. “Monsanto is facing a flood of thousands of additional lawsuits with several trials already scheduled over the next several months.”
Johnson was originally seeking $412 million in damages. Jurors ended up awarding him $39 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages, which are intended to punish the defendant and dissuade them from committing the type of negligence that led to the plaintiff’s complaint. Monsanto said it will appeal.
“Today’s decision does not change the fact that more than 800 scientific studies and reviews — and conclusions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. National Institutes of Health and regulatory authorities around the world — support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer, and did not cause Mr. Johnson’s cancer,” Monsanto Vice President Scott Partridge said in a statement.