Justice in California confirms Monsanto’s conviction

Gardener Dewayne Johnson’s cancer was indeed caused by the Roundup weedkiller, a California court of appeal confirmed Monday. However, the plaintiff will receive damages totaling $ 20.4 million, much less than expected.

An appeals court in California on Monday, July 20, upheld the conviction of the company Monsanto, pursued by a gardener suffering from cancer which he attributes to the herbicide Roundup.

The German company Bayer, which acquired Monsanto, said in a statement that it reserves the right to appeal to the California Supreme Court, even though it considers the Court of Appeal’s decision “a step in the right direction”.

“However, we still believe that the jury’s decision and payment of compensation are incompatible with the evidence presented and existing laws,” Bayer said in a statement. Monsanto still believes that Roundup is a safe and effective product, a “position backed by 40 years of scientific evidence”.

In August 2018, a popular jury in the San Francisco court concluded that Monsanto had acted “harmful” to conceal the potentially carcinogenic nature of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, and that this general herbicide and its professional equivalent RangerPro had “significantly” contributed to the disease to Dewayne Johnson, 48, who is fatal.

Convicted of paying $ 289 million in damages, the giant agricultural giant announced his intention to appeal, while asking San Francisco judge Suzanne Bolanos to organize a new trial. In October 2018, Suzanne Bolanos upheld this judgment on the merits, but sharply reduced the damages to $ 78.5 million.

“Another great victory”

The plaintiff had accepted this reduction “in order to avoid the importance of a new trial”, “in the hope of seeing in his lifetime a final solution” of the case, had explained the lawyers for this father of two boys.

On Monday, magistrates in the California Court of Appeal argued that Roundup had indeed caused cancer from Dewayne Johnson, contrary to what Bayer claims. However, they reduced the damage to a total of $ 20.4 million.

One of Dewayne Johnson’s lawyers called the decision “another major victory” and attributed the new reduction in punitive damages to an “anomaly” in California’s statutes.

With AFP