Monsanto Appeals $78 Million Verdict Linking Glyphosate to California Man's Cancer

Punitive damages were already lowered from $289 million.
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Monsanto Appeals $78 Million Verdict Linking Glyphosate to California Man's Cancer

Monsanto has appealed a $78 million court verdict in favor of DeWayne Johnson, a California man who says he contracted terminal lymphoma following acute use of the company's glyphosate-based weedkiller, Ranger Pro. Monsanto filed its notice of appeal in San Francisco Superior Court Tuesday.

The court had originally ruled in favor of Johnson in August, awarding him $289 million, including $250 million in punitive damages. Judge Suzanne Bolanos later denied Monsanto's request for a new trial. She also reduced the damages to $78 million, in order to comply with a law regarding the way in which punitive damages are calculated.

Monsanto and parent company Bayer, which purchased the agrochemical giant for $63 billion in June, continue to allege that Roundup and Ranger Pro – and their active ingredient glyphosate – do not cause cancer.

"We continue to believe that the liability verdict and reduced damage award are not supported by the evidence at trial or the law," Bayer says in a statement. "None of the science presented at trial supports the conclusion that glyphosate or the Roundup formulation was a substantial cause of Mr. Johnson's NHL."

Bayer also communicated forthcoming publication of summaries of its own studies into the safety of glyphosate.

At the time of the verdict, Monsanto vice president Scott Partridge expressed that the decision "does not change the fact that more than 800 scientific studies and reviews — and conclusions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. National Institutes of Health and regulatory authorities around the world — support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer, and did not cause Mr. Johnson’s cancer.”

The World Health Organization deemed glyphosate a probable human carcinogen in 2015.

Johnson first came into contact with glyphosate while working as a groundskeeper for a San Francisco Bay area school district. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2014; his doctor testified that he has less than three years to live.

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