Terminally Ill Man Wins Landmark Case Against Monsanto
January 18, 2019
Dewayne Johnson has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma – and he got it because he used Roundup, a glyphosate-based pesticide manufactured by Monsanto. Recently, a jury decided that Monsanto was responsible for causing Johnson’s lymphoma, and awarded the terminally ill man a total of $289 million in damages.
Dewayne got his job at a school in the Bay Area in 2012. As the area pest manager, part of Johnson’s daily routine was spraying Roundup – a notoriously strong and effective weed killer. Some workdays, Johnson sprayed the pesticide for hours. Despite wearing protective clothing, it was not uncommon for the chemicals to make their way onto Johnson’s skin – and within just months, he developed a rash. The rash never went away.
By 2015, doctors had diagnosed Johnson with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was shocked. He called Monsanto and told a representative the whole story – and he also asked if the pesticide he had used could cause cancer. “Someone will call you back,” Johnson said they told him – but he claimed that he never heard from anyone at Monsanto again.
After hearing both sides, the jury deliberated for three days and then returned its verdict: that Monsanto failed to warn Johnson about the risks and dangers associated with its hazardous product. Despite the decision, company representatives were fast to make claims that Roundup was in fact safe for consumer use, and steadfastly promised to appeal the decision.
According to Johnson, he hopes that the decision will force Monsanto to revise its product labels, including putting a comprehensive warning on its glyphosate-based products. Johnson is the first person to win a case like this against Monsanto, so it is not yet clear what impact the decision will have – that said, it is important to note that there are thousands more cases similar to Johnson’s that are in the works.
Glyphosate: Fast Facts
Glyphosate is a type of herbicide, which is just a fancy way of saying that it kills weeds. The compound was first discovered in 1970 – by a chemist at Monsanto – and by 1974, Roundup was officially on the market. Although the World Health Organization (WHO) already named glyphosate as a probable carcinogen, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is still assessing the chemical’s “overall risk.” Recently, an EPA spokesperson said that there is growing evidence that “glyphosate-based herbicides like Roundup can result in a wide range of chronic illnesses.”
Simply put, carcinogens are things capable of causing cancer. Carcinogens can be:
- Chemical, and:
- Other substances
Not only has the WHO labeled glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen,” but the compound can also cause a variety of other health problems, like:
- Photocontact dermatitis;
- Burns to the mouth, throat, and/or esophagus (in case of swallowing);
- Liver damage, and:
Companies like Monsanto need to warn consumers about the dangers that are associated with using their products. All too often unsuspecting people get hurt because some companies value profits over doing the right thing. Dewayne Johnson had no idea just how deadly and dangerous Roundup was, and he got cancer because the company failed to alert him. No one else should have to experience what Johnson has – and hopefully, he has paved the way for future victims who are seeking damages.
Do you have questions about using Monsanto pesticides, or would you like to speak with an attorney about a defective product? Contact a representative at our firm who can help.
Philadelphia Products Liability Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Represent Injured Individuals
If you were injured or became ill because of an unsafe or defective product, please contact the Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at Galfand Berger. With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.