A California man has been awarded almost $300 million in damages in a lawsuit against chemical company Monsanto.
A jury awarded Dewayne Johnson $39.2 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages, ruling Monsanto failed to warn consumers about carcinogenic chemicals in its Roundup brand weed killer, reports BuzzFeed News.
“I just want to thank the men and women and everybody on the jury ... for the hard work that they’ve done and for the days that they’ve spent in that courtroom,” Johnson said after the decision was announced. “I’m glad to be here to help, but the cause is way bigger than me, so hopefully this thing will start to get the attention that it needs.”
Johnson used to work for a San Francisco Bay school district as a groundskeeper and regularly used the product. According to CNN, he used Roundup 20 to 30 times per year and had two accidents that resulted in him being covered with the product. The last one occurred in 2012. In 2014, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma after he noticed lesions on his body.
Johnson only has a few months to live, but his attorney, Timothy Litzenburg, believes the rest of his time will be spent “in extreme comfort,” and his two sons will be able to live comfortably when he passes.
Monsanto plans to appeal the decision, according to a statement from vice president Scott Partridge.
"We will appeal this decision and continue to vigorously defend this product, which has a 40-year history of safe use and continues to be a vital, effective and safe tool for farmers and others," Partridge said.
About 800 similar lawsuits are pending against Monsanto.
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