A Northern California man will receive substantially less than the $289 million that he won in a lawsuit against Monsanto chemicals after the judge decided that the jury gave him too much money. In a ruling handed down Monday (Oct. 22), San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos left DeWayne Johnson with less than half of the amount that he was originally awarded over the summer.
According to CNN, Judge Bolanos “constitutionally reduced to the maximum allowed by due process” on grounds that there was “no clear and convincing evidence” to prove malicious intent on Monsanto’s part. Bolano’s lowered the punitive damages from more than $200 million to just over $39 million, bringing Johnson’s total amount to around $80 million (which includes $39 million for lost wages). The judge also denied the company’s request to have the case tossed.
Johnson, who worked as a school groundskeeper in San Francisco, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after repeatedly using Roundup weed killer at work. He is one of the thousands of other users who has lodged similar claims against the company, which has been accused of “bullying scientist” and manipulating data to hide the herbicide’s carcinogenic properties.
Monsanto, which is owned by German pharmaceuticals giant Bayer, denies that Roundup causes cancer. “When we are faced with these kind of questions we only have really one solution, and that is to rely on expert interpretation of the existing scientific data,”
Harvey Glick from the company’s Singapore office said in a statement of the Roundup product. “That has been done by many experts in many countries and they’ve all come to the same conclusion — that it’s safe.”