Jury in Deliberation for Case Linking Monsanto Weedkiller to Cancer
The jury deliberation of the Johnson vs. Monsanto case began this week after closing arguments debating the tie between Roundup herbicide and Non-Hodgkins lymphoma were voiced Tuesday.
The verdict of this high-profile case in the San Francisco superior court will be the first in a series of Roundup-related cases made against Monsanto, which is now owned by German pharmaceutical company Bayer.
More than 5,000 plaintiffs have decided to take court measures to attest that they contracted cancer after large-scale exposure to the glyphosate weed killer. Dewayne Johnson filed his lawsuit in January 2016, and his case was fast-tracked due to the severity of his illness. According to Reuters, Johnson’s doctors have set his life expectancy at no further than 2020.
Johnson’s four-week trial, presided over by Judge Suzanne Ramos Bolzano, has fact-checked results from a World Health Organization study in 2015 which proclaimed the chemical ingredient glyphosate as a human carcinogen. In contrast, a decade of assessment conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency on the health impacts of glyphosate determined that the chemical was likely not carcinogenic, or cancer-causing. This conclusion was released in September 2017.
The 16 person jury will be expected to decide whether the product is significantly dangerous, and if so whether or not Monsanto went to the adequate measures to warn users of its risks.
Johnson has called for a warning on the label of the product which notifies the buyer that exposure could lead to the disease he is now expected to die from.
The plaintiff is also seeking more than $400 million in damages.
Monsanto lawyer George Lombardi stated his empathy for Johnson due to his medical condition but argued that the human case studies and research conducted since the product’s release in the 1970s show no connection with the causation of any cancers.
“Forty years of scientific studies ranging from human to animal to cell,” Lombardi said. “The evidence is clear. The message from that evidence is clear, and it’s that this cancer was not caused by Ranger Pro.”
In contrast, prosecution lawyer Brent Wisner urged the jury through his closing statement to make a historic stand against Monsanto, for Johnson and other cancer survivors.
The jury deliberated on Wednesday afternoon and reviewed a doctor’s testimony that tied Johnson’s lymphoma with glyphosate. They did not reach a verdict and will continue their deliberation today.