Appeals court upholds groundskeeper’s Roundup cancer trial win over Monsanto

July 20, 2020

In yet another court loss for Monsanto owner Bayer AG, an appeals court rejected the company’s effort to overturn the trial victory notched by a California school groundskeeper who alleged exposure to Monsanto’s glyphosate herbicides caused him to develop cancer, though the court did say damages should be cut to $20.5 million.

The Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District of California said Monday that Monsanto’s arguments were unpersuasive and Dewayne “Lee” Johnson was entitled to collect $10.25 million in  compensatory damages and another $10.25 million in punitive damages. That is down from a total of $78 million the trial judge allowed.

“In our view, Johnson presented abundant—and certainly substantial— evidence that glyphosate, together with the other ingredients in Roundup products, caused his cancer,” the court stated. “Expert after expert provided evidence both that Roundup products are capable of causing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma…  and caused Johnson’s cancer in particular.”

The court further noted that “there was overwhelming evidence that Johnson has suffered, and will continue to suffer for the rest of his life, significant pain and suffering.”

The court said that Monsanto’s argument that scientific findings about glyphosate’s links to cancer constituted a “minority view” was not supported.

Notably, the appeals court added that punitive damages were in order because there was sufficient evidence that Monsanto acted with “willful and conscious disregard of others’ safety.”

Mike Miller, whose Virginia law firm represented Johnson at trial along with the Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman firm of Los Angeles, said he was cheered at the court’s confirmation that Johnson developed cancer from his use of Roundup and that the court affirmed the award of punitive damages for “Monsanto’s willful misconduct.”

“Mr Johnson continues to suffer from his injuries. We are proud to fight for Mr Johnson and his pursuit of justice,” Miller said.

Monsanto owes annual interest at the rate of 10 percent from April of 2018 until it pays the final judgment.

The reduction in damages is tied in part to the fact that doctors have told Johnson his cancer is terminal and he is not expected to live very much longer. The court agreed with Monsanto that because compensatory damages are designed to compensate for future pain, mental suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, physical impairment, etc…  Johnson’s short life expectancy legally means the future “non-economic” damages awarded by the trial court must be reduced.

Brent Wisner, one of Johnson’s trial attorneys, said the reduction in damages was the result of a “deep flaw in California tort law.”

“Basically, California law does not allow a plaintiff to recover for a shortened life expectancy,” Wisner said. “This effectively rewards a defendant for killing a plaintiff, as opposed to just injuring him. It is madness.”

A spotlight on Monsanto’s conduct

It was just two months after Bayer bought Monsanto, in August 2018, that a unanimous jury awarded Johnson $289 million, including $250 million in punitive damages, finding that not only did Monsanto’s herbicides cause Johnson to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma, but that the company knew of the cancer risks and failed to warn Johnson. The lawsuit involved two Monsanto glyphosate herbicide products – Roundup and Ranger Pro.

The trial judge lowered the total verdict to $78 million but Monsanto appealed the reduced amount. Johnson cross appealed to reinstate the $289 million verdict.

The Johnson trial was covered by media outlets around the world and put a spotlight on questionable Monsanto conduct. Lawyers for Johnson presented jurors with internal company emails and other records showing Monsanto scientists discussing ghostwriting scientific papers to try to shore up support for the safety of the company’s products, along with communications detailing plans to discredit critics, and to quash a government evaluation of the toxicity of glyphosate, the key chemical in Monsanto’s products.

Internal documents also showed that Monsanto expected the International Agency for Research on Cancer would classify glyphosate as a probable or possible human carcinogen in March of 2015 (the classification was as a probable carcinogen) and worked out a plan in advance to discredit the cancer scientists after they issued their classification.

Tens of thousands of plaintiffs have filed lawsuits against Monsanto making claims similar to Johnson’s, and two additional trials have taken place since the Johnson trial. Both those trials also resulted in large verdicts against Monsanto. Both are also under appeal.

In June, Bayer said it had reached a  settlement agreement with attorneys representing 75 percent of the roughly 125,000 filed and yet-to-be filed claims initiated by U.S. plaintiffs who blame exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup for their development of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Bayer said it will provide $8.8 billion to $9.6 billion to resolve the litigation. But lawyers representing more than 20,000 additional plaintiffs say they have not agreed to settle with Bayer and those lawsuits are expected to continue to work their way through the court system.

In a statement issued after the court ruling, Bayer said it stands behind the safety of Roundup: “The appeal court’s decision to reduce the compensatory and punitive damages is a step in the right direction, but we continue to believe that the jury’s verdict and damage awards are inconsistent with the evidence at trial and the law. Monsanto will consider its legal options, including filing an appeal with the Supreme Court of California.”

https://usrtk.org/monsanto-roundup-trial-tracker-index

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This blog by Carey Gillam is updated regularly with news and tips about the lawsuits involving Monsanto’s glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer products. See our Monsanto Papers pages for discovery documents. Please consider donating here to support our investigation

– BEFORE YOU SPRAY

– WEEDING BY HAND

– WHAT WILL HAPPEN

FULL INTERVIEW BY WCBS RADIO’S PAT FARNACK (click)

BUY THE BOOK

You can find The Fight Against Monsanto’s Roundup: The Politics of Pesticides at independent bookstores, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and elsewhere. Order online from your independent bookstore here!

TV STORIES, VIDEO:

THE NEWS, w/Rick Sanchez (link)

KARL GROSSMAN’S ENVIRO CLOSE-UP

NY CITY COUNCILAttorney Joel Kupferman (at 3:36:12) and Mitchel Cohen (3:42:23) testify on Glyphosate in city parks

RT AMERICA TV Watching the Hawks (link)VIDEO

Mitchel Cohen’s comments about The Politics of Pesticides on panel at New York University, March 31, 2019.

ROB KALL (Op-Ed News) interviews Mitchel Cohen & Robin Falk Esser,

AUDIO/RADIO STORIES:

FLASHPOINTS KPFA/PACIFICA with Dennis Bernstein

WBAI RADIO (99.5 FM in NY/NJ):

“Let Them Talk” with Paul DeRienzo. Interview with Mitchel Cohen and Robin Falk Esser, April 14, 2019.

“Waking Up” with Julianna Forlano (3 shows):Monday May 13, 2019. Interview with Mitchel Cohen, Robin Esser, Jonathan Latham.

  • Tuesday, May 14, 2019. Interview with Jonathan Latham, author of “Unsafe at Any Dose,” a chapter in the book.

  • Wednesday, May 15, 2019. Interview with Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D., author of “Glyphosate Acting as a Glycine Analog: Slow Insidious Toxicity,” a chapter in the book looking at the health consequences of Roundup in humans and other animals, and suggesting a mechanism by which these may occur.

WMBR – RADIO WITH A VIEW w/MARC STERN, MIT CAMBRIDGE MA

KPFA/PACIFICA RADIO with Brian Tokar, Mitchel Cohen, and Freewheeling Franklin Sterling

REBECCA RISK: VoiceAmerica radio.

THE MALLIARD REPORT

CLEARING THE FOG RADIO. Dr. Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, of PopularResistance.org.

– BEFORE YOU SPRAY

– WEEDING BY HAND

– WHAT WILL HAPPEN

FULL INTERVIEW BY WCBS RADIO’S PAT FARNACK (click)

BUY THE BOOK

You can find The Fight Against Monsanto’s Roundup: The Politics of Pesticides at independent bookstores, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and elsewhere. Order online from your independent bookstore here!

TV STORIES, VIDEO:

THE NEWS, w/Rick Sanchez (link)

KARL GROSSMAN’S ENVIRO CLOSE-UP

NY CITY COUNCILAttorney Joel Kupferman (at 3:36:12) and Mitchel Cohen (3:42:23) testify on Glyphosate in city parks

RT AMERICA TV Watching the Hawks (link)VIDEO

Mitchel Cohen’s opening comments about The Politics of Pesticides on panel at New York University on March 31, 2019.

AUDIO/RADIO STORIES:

FLASHPOINTS KPFA/PACIFICA with Dennis Bernstein

WBAI RADIO (99.5 FM in NY/NJ), “Let Them Talk” with Pau DeRienzo. Interview with Mitchel Cohen and Robin Falk Esser, April 14, 2019.

WBAI RADIO (99.5 FM in NY/NJ). Waking Up with Julianna Forlano

  • Monday May 13, 2019. Interview with Mitchel Cohen, Robin Esser, Jonathan Latham.
  • Tuesday, May 14, 2019. Interview with Jonathan Latham, author of “Unsafe at Any Dose,” a chapter in the book.
  • Wednesday, May 15, 2019. Interview with Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D., author of “Glyphosate Acting as a Glycine Analog: Slow Insidious Toxicity,” a chapter in the book looking at the health consequences of Roundup in humans and other animals, and suggesting a mechanism by which these may occur.

WMBR – RADIO WITH A VIEW w/MARC STERN, MIT CAMBRIDGE MA

 

KPFA/PACIFICA RADIO with Brian Tokar, Mitchel Cohen, and Freewheeling Franklin Sterling

 

REBECCA RISK: VoiceAmerica radio.

 

THE MALLIARD REPORT

 

CLEARING THE FOG RADIO. Dr. Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, of PopularResistance.org.

IN THE NEWS

– BEFORE YOU SPRAY

– WEEDING BY HAND

– WHAT WILL HAPPEN

FULL INTERVIEW BY WCBS RADIO’S PAT FARNACK (click)

BUY THE BOOK

You can find The Fight Against Monsanto’s Roundup: The Politics of Pesticides at independent bookstores, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and elsewhere. Order online from your independent bookstore here!

TV STORIES, VIDEO

THE NEWS, w/Rick Sanchez (link)

KARL GROSSMAN’S ENVIRO CLOSE-UP

NY CITY COUNCIL
Attorney Joel Kupferman (at 3:36:12) and Mitchel Cohen (3:42:23) testify on Glyphosate in city parks

RT AMERICA TV Watching the Hawks (link)
VIDEO

Mitchel Cohen’s opening comments about The Politics of Pesticides on panel at New York University on March 31, 2019.

AUDIO/RADIO STORIES

Monday May 13, 2019. Interview with Mitchel Cohen, Robin Esser, Jonathan Latham.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019. Interview with Jonathan Latham, author of “Unsafe at Any Dose,” a chapter in the book.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019. Interview with Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D., author of “Glyphosate Acting as a Glycine Analog: Slow Insidious Toxicity,” a chapter in the book looking at the health consequences of Roundup in humans and other animals, and suggesting a mechanism by which these may occur.

IN THE NEWS

– BEFORE YOU SPRAY

– WEEDING BY HAND

– WHAT WILL HAPPEN

FULL INTERVIEW BY WCBS RADIO’S PAT FARNACK (click)

 

BUY THE BOOK

You can find The Fight Against Monsanto’s Roundup: The Politics of Pesticides at independent bookstores, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and elsewhere. Order online from your independent bookstore here!

 

 

TV STORIES, VIDEO

THE NEWS, w/Rick Sanchez (link)

KARL GROSSMAN’S ENVIRO CLOSE-UP

NY CITY COUNCIL

Attorney Joel Kupferman (at 3:36:12) and Mitchel Cohen (3:42:23) testify on Glyphosate in city parks

RT AMERICA TV Watching the Hawks (link)

VIDEO Mitchel Cohen’s opening comments about The Politics of Pesticides on panel at New York University on March 31, 2019.

 

AUDIO/RADIO STORIES

        • WBAI RADIO (99.5 FM in NY/NJ), “Let Them Talk” with Paul DeRienzo. Interview with Mitchel Cohen and Robin Falk Esser, April 14, 2019.
        • WBAI RADIO (99.5 FM in NY/NJ). Waking Up with Julianna Forlano

      Monday May 13, 2019. Interview with Mitchel Cohen, Robin Esser, Jonathan Latham.

      Tuesday, May 14, 2019. Interview with Jonathan Latham, author of “Unsafe at Any Dose,” a chapter in the book.

      Wednesday, May 15, 2019. Interview with Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D., author of “Glyphosate Acting as a Glycine Analog: Slow Insidious Toxicity,” a chapter in the book looking at the health consequences of Roundup in humans and other animals, and suggesting a mechanism by which these may occur.

       

IN THE NEWS

 

– BEFORE YOU SPRAY

– WEEDING BY HAND

– WHAT WILL HAPPEN

FULL INTERVIEW BY WCBS RADIO’S PAT FARNACK (click)

 

BUY THE BOOK

You can find The Fight Against Monsanto’s Roundup: The Politics of Pesticides at independent bookstores, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and elsewhere. Order online from your independent bookstore here!

 

 

TV STORIES, VIDEO

THE NEWS, w/Rick Sanchez (link)

KARL GROSSMAN’S ENVIRO CLOSE-UP

NY CITY COUNCIL

Attorney Joel Kupferman (at 3:36:12) and Mitchel Cohen (3:42:23) testify on Glyphosate in city parks

RT AMERICA TV   Watching the Hawks (link)

VIDEO Mitchel Cohen’s opening comments about The Politics of Pesticides on panel at New York University on March 31, 2019.

 

AUDIO/RADIO STORIES

 

 

 

 

 

 

      • WBAI RADIO (99.5 FM in NY/NJ), “Let Them Talk” with Paul DeRienzo. Interview with Mitchel Cohen and Robin Falk Esser, April 14, 2019.

 

  • WBAI RADIO (99.5 FM in NY/NJ). Waking Up with Julianna Forlano

Monday May 13, 2019. Interview with Mitchel Cohen, Robin Esser, Jonathan Latham.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019. Interview with Jonathan Latham, author of “Unsafe at Any Dose,” a chapter in the book.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019. Interview with Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D., author of “Glyphosate Acting as a Glycine Analog: Slow Insidious Toxicity,” a chapter in the book looking at the health consequences of Roundup in humans and other animals, and suggesting a mechanism by which these may occur.

 

FULL INTERVIEW BY WCBS RADIO’S PAT FARNACK

 

BUY THE BOOK

You can find The Fight Against Monsanto’s Roundup: The Politics of Pesticides at independent bookstores, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and elsewhere. Order online from your independent bookstore here!

 

  • CLEARING THE FOG RADIO. Dr. Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, of PopularResistance.org, interview Mitchel Cohen and Robin Esser. To hear the entire show (covering Venezuela and other important topics) please click here.

 

 

  • WBAI RADIO (99.5 FM in NY/NJ). Waking Up with Julianna Forlano

Monday May 13, 2019. Interview with Mitchel Cohen, Robin Esser, Jonathan Latham.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019. Interview with Jonathan Latham, author of “Unsafe at Any Dose,” a chapter in the book.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019. Interview with Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D., author of “Glyphosate Acting as a Glycine Analog: Slow Insidious Toxicity,” a chapter in the book looking at the health consequences of Roundup in humans and other animals, and suggesting a mechanism by which these may occur.

 

**********

The Fight Against Monsanto’s Roundup: The Politics of Pesticides – New Book

Written and edited by Mitchel Cohen
Foreword by Vandana Shiva


A Comprehensive Look at the Worldwide Battle to Defend Ourselves and Our Environment Against the Peddlers of Chemical Poisons

This may be one of the most important books you read this year. We are being poisoned and this book is sounding a well-informed alarm. 

Read it. Get educated and then join the thousands rising up against those who care more for profit than the health of our bodies and our earth.”

– Eve Ensler, New York Times best-selling author of I Am An Emotional Creature: The Secret Life Of Girls Around The World, The Vagina Monologues, and In the Body of the World

Order your copy HERE


To request a review copy or to arrange an interview with the author, please contact: Hector Carosso / (212) 643-6816 x 277 / hcarosso@skyhorsepublishing.com

Chemical poisons have infiltrated all facets of our lives — housing, agriculture, work places, sidewalks, subways, schools, parks, even the air we breathe. More than half a century since Rachel Carson issued Silent Spring — her call-to-arms against the poisoning of our drinking water, food, animals, air, and the natural environment — The Fight Against Monsanto’s Roundup: The Politics of Pesticides takes a fresh look at
the politics underlying the mass use of pesticides and the challenges people around the world are making against Monsanto’s most dangerous creation, glyphosate.
The scientists and activists contributing to The Politics of Pesticides, edited by long-time Green activist Mitchel Cohen, explore not only the dangers of glyphosate — better known as “Roundup” — but the campaign which ended with glyphosate declared as a cancer-causing agent. In an age where banned pesticides are simply replaced with newer and more deadly ones, and where corporations such as Monsanto, Bayer, Dow and DuPont scuttle attempts to regulate the products they manufacture, what is the effective, practical, and philosophical framework for banning glyphosate and other pesticides?
The Fight Against Monsanto’s Roundup: The Politics of Pesticides explores the best strategies for winning the struggle for healthy foods and a clean environment. It takes lessons from activists who have come before, and offers a new, holistic and radical approach that is essential for defending life on this planet and creating for our kids, and for ourselves, a future worth living in.


Mitchel Cohen coordinates the No Spray Coalition in New York City, which successfully sued the City government over its indiscriminate spraying of toxic pesticides. In 1997, he organized the campaign to rid NYC public schools of milk from cows injected with genetically engineered Bovine Growth Hormone, and in 2001, he ran for Mayor of NYC as one of five Green Party candidates. He was editor of the national newspaper Green Politix, and of the NY State Green Party newspaper. Mitchel edited Red Balloon, the journal of the Red Balloon Collective that he cofounded at SUNY Stony Brook, and chaired WBAI radio’s Local Board. His writings include: The Social Construction of Neurosis, and numerous other pamphlets; What is Direct Action?, a book that draws on personal experiences as well as lessons from Occupy Wall Street; An American in Revolutionary Nicaragua; and two books of poetry, One-Eyed Cat Takes Flight and The Permanent Carnival.

Order your copy here.
Bulk discounts for anti-pesticides and anti-GMO organizations are available. Write to mitchelcohen@mindspring.com to make arrangement
“The Worldwide Fight Against Monsanto’s Roundup: The Politics of Pesticides” displayed in Barnes & Noble in Park Slope, Brooklyn.