Roundup cancer victim awarded $189 million in California lawsuit against Monsanto

by Jim Orr

A jury in California has awarded $189 million in damages to a former school groundskeeper who alleged that he developed a fatal cancer after years of exposure to Monsanto’s weedkiller, Roundup. The lawsuit was the first of thousands of lawsuits filed against Monsanto over the link between Roundup and an increased risk of a form of cancer known as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

According to the lawsuit he filed against Monsanto, Dewayne Johnson worked as a groundskeeper at a school in the San Francisco area. Johnson alleges that as part of his job duties, he sprayed Roundup about 20-30 times per year. On at least two occasions, Johnson alleges that he was completely soaked in Roundup weedkiller.

Two years after the first of these incidents, Johnson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Johnson says that as a result of his cancer diagnosis, he now has lesions over 80% of his body. On bad days, Johnson says that he is too crippled by his cancer to even be able to speak.

Johnson filed a lawsuit against Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup, alleging that the company failed to warn customers that the weedkiller could increase their risk of cancer. Johnson’s case was the first of the Roundup lawsuits filed against Monsanto to go to trial because he is near death; California law grants plaintiffs the right to an expedited trial in cases where they are close to dying.

Monsanto pointed to several studies that they claimed show that glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) doesn’t cause cancer. But attorneys for Johnson said that the problem isn’t with glyphosate, but with Roundup specifically. Johnson’s attorneys presented evidence at the trial the interaction between glyphosate and other chemicals in Roundup create a “synergistic effect” which drastically increases the cancer risk of individuals who are exposed to the weedkiller.

Following the trial, jurors awarded $189 million in damages to Johnson, finding that Roundup had been a “substantial contributing factor” in his cancer diagnosis. Experts compared the jury’s findings that Roundup can increase the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma to realizations in the 1960s and 1970s that smoking causes lung cancer.

Johnson’s attorney said that in addition to the lawsuit filed by his client, Monsanto is facing an additional 4,000 lawsuits in state court over the link between Roundup and an increased cancer risk. In addition to the thousands of state-level lawsuits, Monsanto is also facing about 400 claims filed in federal court as part of a multi-district litigation against the company.

Lawsuits Filed Against Monsanto Over Roundup Cancer

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or other types of cancer after being exposed to Roundup or other herbicides containing glyphosate, you may qualify to file a lawsuit. The first step in taking legal action is to speak with an attorney who can advise you regarding your legal rights and guide you through the first steps of filing a claim.

The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have the experience and dedication to handle personal injury and product liability cases against the chemical industry or other corporations from start to finish. Our firm has filed hundreds of lawsuits involving personal injury, product liability, dangerous drugs or medical devices, commercial claims, and other legal matters on behalf of our clients.

For more information about filing a Roundup lawsuit, contact Heygood, Orr & Pearson for a free legal consultation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by following the link to our free Roundup case evaluation form and answering a few questions about your case to get started.

by Jim Orr

Jim Orr is a licensed attorney and a partner at HO&P focusing on business and personal injury litigation. Jim was selected multiple times to the Super Lawyers List and has tried 70+ cases to verdict.