Fighting for what’s right is usually a thankless and difficult job. Nobody is more aware of this fact at the moment than DeWayne Johnson, a dying man who was embroiled in a huge lawsuit against Monsanto, an agrochemical corporation whose product he believes is responsible for his death sentence. Johnson is dying from non-Hodgkins lymphoma, which he believes was caused by Monsanto’s herbicide product called “Roundup.” Johnson used the product at his place of work as a groundskeeper for a couple of years. Now doctors predict he might not see 2019.
While many might succumb to their predicament and spend their days with family and doing the things they love, Johnson chose to spend his days fighting for justice, wanting Monsanto to admit that they are at fault for his condition and that their product is causing people to develop cancer. Johnson, a 46-year-old father of three, is one of the hundreds of plaintiffs who blame Monsanto and their products for causing cancer.
In the midst of this tragic situation, Johnson was granted an expedited trial, because his doctors testified that he is nearing death. The judge stated in an order, “The internal correspondence noted by Johnson could support a jury finding that Monsanto has long been aware of the risk that its glyphosate-based herbicides are carcinogenic…but has continuously sought to influence the scientific literature to prevent its internal concerns from reaching the public sphere and to bolster its defenses in products liability actions.”
We at Rhine Law Firm, P.C., previously explored the link between Roundup and cancer. Now, we are happy to say that Johnson prevailed in his lawsuit, with a California jury awarding him a landmark verdict of $289 million. Over $250 million of that was in punitive damages, alleging that the company acted with conscious disregard for the public’s safety.
The Case Against Monsanto
In 2015, the World Health Organization labeled glyphosate (the main ingredient in Roundup products) as a probable carcinogen. This was followed by an avalanche of lawsuits. Around 4,000 people have sued Monsanto claiming that exposure to Roundup caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
This court ruling against Monsanto may be a major hit to the agricultural business. Roundup is sold in over 160 countries. Our own farmers use it on a variety of crops, and everyday homeowners use it on their lawns.
Class Action Lawsuits
Johnson has won his personal injury suit, but perhaps other victims of Monsanto could join together in a class-action lawsuit.
A class-action lawsuit happens when many people who have been injured by the same defendant become represented as a “class” or group, which helps to resolve the case in a single proceeding instead of a hundred individual cases.
There have been many famous class action lawsuits that have changed the course of history and our country.
- Exxon Mobil: Originated from the horrific Exxon Valdez oil spill, which affected thousands of people and their livelihoods. ExxonMobil was ordered to pay 500 million in punitive damages to all those harmed by the spill, such as the fishermen and landowners.
- Brown v. Board of Education: One of the biggest victories for the civil rights movement, it declared the end of the “separate but equal” racial segregation of schools in America. The lawsuit was led by Thurgood Marshall, the first black justice of the Supreme Court.
- Anderson v. Pacific Gas & Electric Co.: Anyone remembers Erin Brockovich starring Julia Roberts? It was based on a true story. In 1996, when the original case was concluded, it became the biggest civil settlement in history, at a whopping $333 million. Residents of Hinkley, California, sued Pacific Gas & Electric Co for knowingly dumping wastewater that was contaminated with a known carcinogen, chromium-6, into the area’s groundwater.
- Master Tobacco Settlement: In 1998, 46 state attorney generals went after the major tobacco companies, claiming that cigarettes contributed to health issues which created a strain on the public healthcare system. The states settled at $365.5 billion, and in exchange, the companies agreed to change their marketing and compensate the states for medical costs.
Monsanto still denies causing Johnson’s cancer, and many similar claims. As a huge corporation, they possess piles of money to throw at lawsuits, and into specifically designed privately funded scientific studies, in order to ensure that their products stay on the market, regardless of whether they are toxic or not.
If you’re going to go against a corporation, it is absolutely vital to have an attorney who will fight for you and believe in your cause. A huge company will never admit fault unless they have no other choice. Standing up to a huge corporation is no easy feat. It takes someone with guts to take that on, and Rhine Law Firm, P.C., is just that type of firm. We will stand up to any corporation and organization on your behalf, and fight for the right thing.
Contact the dedicated Wilmington Roundup lawyers at Rhine Law Firm, P.C., to schedule a consultation at (910) 501-2474.