Audet & Partners, LLP Helps Plaintiff Recover $389.2 Million Against Monsanto
On August 10, 2018, after an eight-week trial in a San Francisco Superior Court, jurors returned a verdict in favor of Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, a former groundskeeper whose job required the use of Roundup and Ranger Pro weed killers. The jury rejected Monsanto’s arguments that years of ‘science’ refuted Mr. Johnson’s claimed link between Roundup and his terminal cancer diagnosis.
Listen to a 2019 interview of Attorney Mark Burton by Lindsey Lusher Shute, co-founder of the National Young Farmers Coalition discussing the Monsanto case:
Audet & Partners, LLP served as local counsel for the Plaintiff and hosted the plaintiff’s trial team during the almost two-month trial. (Case entitled: Johnson v. Monsanto Company, San Francisco Superior Court, case number: CGC016-550128).
The lawsuit claimed that exposure to the Roundup and Ranger Pro sprayed while working as a groundskeeper for the Benicia Unified School District resulted in Mr. Johnson contracting non-Hodgkin lymphoma (“NHL”). Mr. Johnson’s doctors believe that Mr. Johnson has less than six months left to live as a result of the aggressive cancer.
The jury determined that Monsanto’s herbicides were a substantial factor in causing injury to the plaintiff and caused Mr. Johnson to develop NHL, and that Monsanto failed to warn of this severe health hazard. Importantly, the jury also found that Monsanto acted with malice, oppression and/or fraud and should be punished for its conduct, resulting in punitive damages against Monsanto awarded to Mr. Johnson in the amount of $350 million. The finding of malice, however, was reversed in an October 22, 2018 Order that reduced the damage award to $39.2 million. You can click here to view a copy of this Order online.
Monsanto has yet to warn consumers of the potential dangers of its multibillion dollar herbicides despite the fact that, in 2016, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a leading institute on the issues related to cancer, listed glyphosate as a probable carcinogen.
As the jury heard during the trial, Monsanto’s own witnesses testified that company employees in fact “ghostwrote” scientific articles and compensated outside scientists to publish articles regarding Roundup under the scientists’ names in order to mislead the public as to the carcinogenic properties of Roundup. Other internal documents surfacing at trial demonstrated that a scientific advisor hired by Monsanto told the company that past testing was insufficient because glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup was tested in isolation without the other chemical ingredients that make up the product’s formulation.
Mr. Johnson offered emotional testimony at trial: “I never would’ve sprayed that product on school grounds or around people if I knew it would cause them harm.” As Mr. Johnson stated “It’s unethical. It’s wrong. People don’t deserve that.” Mr. Audet’s firm, Audet & Partners, LLP, intends, along with his co-counsel, to continue to hold Monsanto accountable to those who suffered an injury as a result of exposure to Roundup and Ranger Pro. “We can only hope that this verdict is a finally a wakeup call to Monsanto” noted Attorney William M. Audet.
If you have used Monsanto Roundup and have subsequently been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, you are urged to contact a toxic chemical class action lawyer at Audet & Partners, LLP for a free, confidential case evaluation. To request a consultation, please complete and submit the inquiry form on the right side of this page.
Mark Burton’s Work on Monsanto Roundup Case Recognized by The National Law Journal
On January 15, 2019, The National Law Journal recognized Audet & Partners, LLP attorney Mark Burton as a member of The Mass Tort Trial Team of the Year for his work with Brent Wisner and David Dickens on the Monsanto Roundup case. This award is given to the trial team that “shaped the legal profession through leadership, innovation and success in the practice of civil plaintiff or criminal defense law.” Mark will be honored in the 2019 Trial Lawyers Summit held in South Beach, Florida, January 20-23, 2019. You may click here to view the complete article announcing this award to Mark Burton.
For press inquiries regarding the Monsanto Roundup trial or verdict, please click here to email William Audet and Mark Burton.