A jury in the United States has ordered agrochemical giant Monsanto to pay $289 million (Rs 1,996 crore) in damages to a man who claimed that the company’s herbicides containing glyphosate had caused his cancer.
A case filed by Dewayne Johnson, a school groundskeeper, was the first lawsuit to go to trial alleging glyphosate causes cancer. Monsanto faces more than 5,000 similar lawsuits across the US, Reuters reported.
Johnson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014. His lawyers said he regularly used a form of RangerPro, a weed killer, while working at a school in California. Jurors awarded him $39 million for his losses and $250 million to punish the company after finding it liable for a design defect and failing to warn of the product’s risks.
The jury at San Francisco’s Superior Court of California deliberated for three days and found that the company had failed to warn Johnson and other consumers of the cancer risks posed by its weed killers.
Monsanto “acted with malice, oppression or fraud and should be punished for its conduct,” Judge Suzanne Ramos Bolanos said, USA Today reported.
Monsanto denies that glyphosate causes cancer and says it intends to appeal against the ruling. “The jury got it wrong,” said Vice-President of Monsanto Scott Partridge, according to BBC.
“Today’s decision does not change the fact that more than 800 scientific studies and reviews...support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer, and did not cause Mr. Johnson’s cancer,” the company said.