A school groundskeeper has accepted reduced punitive damages on 31 October after suing Bayer AG’s Monsanto unit for using glyphosate-based weed-killer that allegedly gave him non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph system, says Reuters.
Dewayne Johnson had been awarded damages of US$289M on 10 August but Judge Suzanne Bolanos of San Francisco’s Superior Court of California ordered the amount to be slashed to US$78M on 22 October to correspond with California and federal law.
In a statement, Johnson’s law firm said that he accepted the reduction “to achieve a final resolution within his lifetime”.
The verdict against Monsanto had slashed its value by 10%, Reuters said. The company now faces over 8,700 US lawsuits over glyphosate but claim years of studies have shown that glyphosate is safe for human use.
Dewayne Johnson sued Monsanto in 2016, claiming that its weed-killers, Ranger Pro and RoundUp, had been the cause of his cancer.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has found that glyphosate is not a carcinogen and is an approved chemical. However, in 2015, the cancer unit of the World Health Organisation found that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans”.
In its 10 August verdict, the jury found that Ranger Pro and RoundUp were responsible for Johnson’s cancer and Bayer had failed to warn consumers of the risks.
Bayer – which bought Monsanto US$63bn in June – has denied that glyphosate can cause cancer and will be appealing the verdict, saying there was no supporting evidence presented at the trial.
Johnson was given the decision to either accept the reduced award or face a new trial over punitive damages. His lawyers have said that they will challenge the amount of damages during Bayer’s appeal.
Johnson’s trial was fast-tracked because of the severity of his cancer, Reuters wrote.