Judge Rejects Monsanto’s Bid to Overturn Glyphosate Conviction but Reduces Punitive Damages from $250 Million to $39 Million

Earlier this week (October 2018) San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Ramos Bolanos rejected Monsanto’s appeal to overturn the jury verdict which found that glyphosate in the herbicide RoundUp causes cancer. Judge Bolanos had earlier hinted that she might overturn the jury's verdict, and eliminate the $250 million in punitive damages. While denying Monsanto's attorneys their request for a new trial, Judge Bolanos did reduce the punitive damages from $250 million to $39 million, the same amount (39 million) that was awarded to the plaintiff, Dewayne Johnson, who is not expected to live much longer due to his cancer diagnosis. Judge Bolanos also stated that if Dewayne Johnson and his attorneys did not accept the reduction in punitive damages, that she would order a new trial. Johnson’s lawyers said in a statement that the “reduction in punitive damages was unwarranted” and that his legal team, Baum Hedlund and the Miller Firm, was “weighing the options.” Bayer, now the parent company for Monsanto, stated that they would file another appeal of the jury's verdict.

Judge Says She Will Overturn Jury Conviction of Monsanto and Nullify $250 Million Award in Damages Over Glyphosate Injuries

A San Francisco judge cast doubt recently on a jury’s $289 million damage award to a former Bay Area groundskeeper who was diagnosed with cancer after frequently spraying school grounds with a widely used weed-killer manufactured by Monsanto Co. Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos said in a tentative ruling that she would likely overturn $250 million in punitive damages because there was no convincing evidence that Monsanto had knowingly manufactured a harmful product or acted “despicably” toward the plaintiff, Dewayne “Lee” Johnson. Bolanos did not announce a final ruling, but showed little indication during the hearing that she was reconsidering her tentative decision on punitive damages. “I’m not following your argument,” she told Miller at one point after the lawyer said Monsanto had failed to properly test its product or study its effects. “You may not have been convinced by the evidence but we were,” juror Gary Kitahata said in a letter to Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos, who is considering Monsanto’s requests to reduce the damages or overturn the entire verdict. “I urge you to respect and honor our verdict and the six weeks of our lives that we dedicated to this trial.” Another juror, Robert Howard, said in his letter to the judge that the jury had paid “studious attention” to the evidence, closely followed Bolanos’ instruction and deliberated for several days. The possibility that “our unanimous verdict could be summarily overturned demeans our system of justice and shakes my confidence in that system,” Howard wrote.

How Many American Deaths Will the EPA be Responsible for Before They Ban Glyphosate Herbicide?

A California jury recently found Monsanto liable for a groundskeeper’s cancer, ordering the company to pay out $289 million. It was the first lawsuit that went to trial alleging that Roundup and other glyphosate-based weed-killers cause cancer. Other research shows that cancer may only be the tip of the iceberg in describing the toll this chemical is taking on our health. There have been hundreds of lawsuits filed against Monsanto alleging that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the Roundup herbicide, causes cancer, and now finally the courts are taking the claims seriously as a federal judge recently ruled that these cases can proceed to trial. The World Health Organization has labeled glyphosate a “probable carcinogen” and yet the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says it isn’t—although we shouldn’t be surprised, given the crony ties that have been exposed between top EPA officials and the biotech industry. The EPA can’t be counted on to protect our health. How is this chemical possibly in the market? Tell the EPA to ban glyphosate!

After California Jury Convicts Monsanto in Glyphosate Trial, Vietnamese Victims of Monsanto’s Agent Orange Also Want Justice

A jury's verdict in California that a groundskeeper got cancer from repeated exposure to Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller is offering new hope for justice for millions of plaintiffs an ocean away. During the Vietnam War, Monsanto was one of the primary companies that supplied Agent Orange to the U.S military, which sprayed 44 million liters (approximately 11.5 million gallons) of the dioxin-containing herbicide on the jungles of South Vietnam. As a result, at least three million Vietnamese people have suffered from cancer, neurological damage and reproductive problems that have been passed down three or four generations, Viet Nam News reported. "The verdict serves as a legal precedent which refutes previous claims that the herbicides made by Monsanto and other chemical corporations in the U.S. and provided for the U.S. army in the war are harmless," spokesman for Vietnam foreign ministry spokesperson Nguyen Phuong Tra said.

Lab Tests Show Children are Eating Contaminated Breakfast Cereals Containing Cancer-causing Glyphosate

Popular oat cereals, oatmeal, granola and snack bars come with a hefty dose of the weed-killing poison in Monsanto’s Roundup, according to independent laboratory tests commissioned by EWG. These new findings come days after a California jury awarded $289 million to a school groundskeeper who claimed Roundup gave him lymphoma. EWG’s tests found glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, in all but two of 45 samples of products made with conventionally grown oats. More than two thirds of the samples had glyphosate levels above what EWG scientists consider protective of children’s health with an adequate margin of safety. About one-third of 16 samples of foods made with organically grown oats also had glyphosate, all at levels well below EWG’s health benchmark. Glyphosate may get in organic oats by drifting from nearby farm fields, or cross-contamination in a processing facility that also handles non-organic foods. Glyphosate has been linked to cancer by California state scientists and the World Health Organization. The California case that ended Friday was the first of reportedly thousands of lawsuits against Monsanto. These suits have been brought by farm workers and others who allege that they developed cancer from years of exposure to Roundup.

Monsanto Loses: Jury Awards Millions to Man Dying of Cancer Due to Herbicide Glyphosate – What’s Next?

This past Friday (August 10, 2018) a jury in California awarded Dewayne Johnson, a former school groundskeeper who is dying of cancer that he claims is the result of years of using the herbicide RoundUp which contains glyphosate, $39 million in damages, and another $250 million was levied against Monsanto for covering up the scientific evidence that glyphosate causes cancer. This is the first legal blow against Monsanto for its herbicide product, which is the world's most common herbicide, spread on crops all over the world. In recent years, laboratory testing on urine and mother's breast milk shows that almost the entire world's population contains glyphosate in their bodies. Health Impact News has covered this story for years now, and we published an interview with Dr. Anthony Samsel back in 2015, when he was able to obtain formerly concealed documents from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealing the toxic nature and cancer risk of the ingredients in the herbicide RoundUp, but were concealed from the public due to "trade secrets." Much of the pre-trial legal maneuvering was centered around what evidence was going to be allowed in the trial. In the end, in spite of what appeared to be at some points a biased judge, enough evidence was presented to the jury to conclude Monsanto was guilty. What's next?

Monsanto Glyphosate Cancer Trial Update: Biased Judge? Key Evidence Not Allowed

The California trial against Monsanto by Dewayne Johnson, a 46-year-old former school groundskeeper, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma four years ago and claims that Monsanto hid evidence that the active ingredient in its Roundup herbicide, glyphosate, caused his cancer, is nearing the end, where a jury will decide on a verdict. One of the attorneys of the Plaintiff, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., has been giving updates that are being posted on the Organic Consumers Association website. In a recent update, Mr. Kennedy reported on some of the actions of Judge Bolanos that seemed to suggest that the judge could be potentially biased in favor of Monsanto by not allowing some key evidence, some of which seems to contradict what another judge, Judge Curtis Karnow, seemed to rule was admissible in pre-trial hearings. In spite of these limitations, Mr. Kennedy feels that the trial is going their way as it is finishing up and being delivered to the jury.

Judge: 300 Cases Against Monsanto Claiming Glyphosate Causes Cancer Can Continue

Hundreds of lawsuits against Monsanto Co by cancer survivors or families of those who died can proceed to trial, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday, finding there was sufficient evidence for a jury to hear the cases that blame the company's glyphosate-containing weed-killer for the disease. The decision by U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco followed years of litigation and weeks of hearings about the controversial science surrounding the safety of the chemical glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto's top-selling weed-killer.

German Company Bayer Approved to Buy Out Monsanto: “A Marriage Made in Hell”?

The recent Monsanto-Bayer merger has been approved by both American and European continent authorities, merging two of the world's top seed biotech companies and producers of genetically modified seeds. Bayer, a company based out of Germany, is a name most often associated with aspirin in the United States and around the world. But even before this merger, they already hold a huge market share of seed production. Bayer is somewhat constrained in developing their GMO products, as Germany bans the cultivation of GMO crops. Most of Bayer's GMO development is done in the USA, and by purchasing Monsanto, they will become, by far, the largest GMO company in the world. This has prompted some to refer to the Bayer-Monsanto merger as "A Marriage Made in Hell."

Will Monsanto Finally Stand Trial for Cancer-causing Herbicide Glyphosate?

A California Superior Court ruled last week that a man dying of cancer, who is suing Monsanto, can present evidence that Monsanto covered up research linking glyphosate to cancer. Glyphosate is the main ingredient in Roundup, the world's most prevalent herbicide used in agriculture, that has been found in 93% of Americans' urine, most mothers' breast milk, and is probably residing inside of every person alive on planet Earth. Provided that the trial will go forward without any more legal maneuvering by Monsanto, 46-year-old DeWayne Johnson, who has terminal cancer and only months left to live, will take the stand against Monsanto in a California court on June 18, in what is being called a "Landmark Lawsuit." Last week Judge Curtis Karnow issued an order clearing the way for jurors to consider not just scientific evidence related to what caused Johnson’s cancer, but allegations that Monsanto suppressed evidence of the risks of its weed killing products. Karnow ruled that the trial will proceed and a jury would be allowed to consider possible punitive damages. There are more than 4,000 other cancer victims who have filed lawsuits against Monsanto since the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) published a report linking glyphosate to non-Hodgkin lymphoma back in 2015. Therefore, should this case actually make it to trial, and DeWayne Johnson gets his day in court before a jury, it could set quite a precedent.