A 46-year-old groundskeeper from California who alleges that Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer caused his deadly cancer is the first in line to go to trial against the agrochemical giant among thousands who say its herbicide caused their disease. According to a Bloomberg news report Dewayne Johnson’s doctors did not think he’d live long enough to testify in court. Johnson apparently mixed and sprayed thousands of gallons of Roundup during the course of his job at groundskeeper. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2014.
A Bellwether Case
The main ingredient in Roundup weed killer is glyphosate, which was initially approved for use in Monsanto’s weed killer in 1974. The brand grew in popularity and became the most widely used herbicide in the world. Lawyers, researchers, regulators and environmentalists have vigorously debated whether or not it causes cancer. Monsanto has insisted and continues to insist that its product is perfectly safe. Now, a jury will decide the case, which is set to begin in San Francisco state court.
Johnson’s lawyers see his trial as a “bellwether case” or an indicator of how other trials will unfold. Jury selection and pretrial hearings could take up to a week and opening statements could begin as early as June 25. The company has argued in court filings that cancers like Johnson’s could take many years to develop and that his first exposure in 2012 and his diagnosis in 2014 precludes an possible causal connection between Roundup and Johnson’s cancer. A pretrial ruling allows Johnson’s attorneys to try to use internal Monsanto memos that show the company has known for a long time that its herbicides pose a risk and could cause cancer.
Justice for Victims
As product defect attorneys who represent injured victims and their families, we will be watching this trial closely. We hope this plaintiff does indeed get his day in court. We hope the facts about this controversial product come out during this trial and we hope those facts educate consumers as well as regulators. Despite Monsanto’s claims, several studies have shown that Roundup weed killer may be linked to cancers of the blood, brain, lungs, prostate and breast.
There are drugs, chemicals and other products that could increase the risk of developing different types of cancer and Roundup is one of those chemicals that has been strongly linked to an elevated risk of cancer. If you have been working with Roundup and have developed cancer, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against Monsanto. An experienced product liability lawyer can help you secure the compensation you need for treatment, medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering.