The recent $289 million judgment against chemical maker Monsanto, won by a former California school groundskeeper dying of cancer is similar to lawsuits filed against the company in Oklahoma.
The California jury agreed with Dewayne “Lee” Johnson that his use of Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup contributed to his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It awarded him $289 million in compensatory and punitive damages and found that Monsanto failed to warn consumers of dangers associated with the products used by Johnson.
In May of 21017, a lawsuit was filed in Oklahoma City U.S. District court by Wanda Clarke and her husband Donald Shepherd of Del City and by Esmeralda Hernandez of Broken Arrow. The suit claimed that Hernandez suffers the same kind of cancer that Johnson has. It also said Wanda Clarke suffers from “Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma.”
Their suit was later transferred to the northern California federal court system where it remains alive. It originally accused Monsanto of “negligently failing to adequately and correctly warn the Plaintiff, the public, the media and agricultural professions and the EPA of the dangers of Roundup.”
It also alleged Monsanto relied on fraudulent scientific tests dating back to 1970s to make its public claim that Roundup is safe and not harmful to humans.
As he dies of cancer, Johnson told CBS News this week he hopes labels change in the future.
“The label’s important because, as a pest controller and as those guys out there … in the professional field of applying herbicides, it’s a requirement to understand your label and then look at your label. It’s very serious. There’s a whole chapter on reading the label, how to read it, and what to look for. So if that was on the label, people can make an informed choice.”
Monsanto still denies its Roundup product is dangerous and caused Johnson’s cancer. It also intends to appeal the judgment.