On August 10, 2018, a San Francisco jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of Lee Johnson finding that: Monsanto knew or should have known that its weed-killer Roundup can cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL); Monsanto failed to adequately warn Mr. Johnson of this risk, and Mr. Johnson’s cancer was caused by his exposure to Roundup. After three days of deliberation, the jury ordered Monsanto to pay $39.2 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages.
Under California law, Lee’s case was expedited to trial due to his aggressive cancer. As Lee stated immediately after the verdict, his primary goal for bringing this case was to spread the word about the dangers of Roundup. This case, and the overwhelming media coverage that has followed, has already resulted in local governments taking action to restrict or ban the use of Roundup. Lee hopes that his case can inspire others to continue their fight against Monsanto.
Unfortunately, due to the nature of these cases, we don’t always have the opportunity to personally meet and form relationships with every one of our clients. I wish that this wasn’t the case because these relationships serve as the motivation for all of our attorneys to keep fighting against corporate giants to bring about change. It is in this spirit that I can say that I will never forget Lee.
Over the course of the last 2 ½ years, I had the pleasure of getting to know Lee and his amazing family. They epitomize courage, determination, selflessness, and love. It was heartbreaking to hear Lee, and his wife Araceli, testify about how cancer has devastated their family; how Lee cries alone at night so his two young children don’t know how scared he really is; and how his youngest son wants to become a chemist so that he can cure his father’s cancer. Yet, despite everything, Lee portrays a message of hope. As he said at trial, he will “keep fighting until the last breath…until [his] time’s written in the sky.”
The Miller Firm remains committed to continuing the fight on behalf of Lee and all of our clients. It is obvious that Monsanto has not learned anything from the jury’s unanimous decision in Lee’s case. Monsanto continues to deny the overwhelming evidence that Roundup causes cancer and instead has mounted attacks against the jury, plaintiff’s counsel, and the justice system. Just yesterday, the CEO of Bayer, the company that just purchased Monsanto, stated that “a verdict by one jury, in one case, does not change the scientific fact and the conclusions of regulators that glyphosate does not cause cancer.” Monsanto’s strategy is eerily similar to the tactics used by the tobacco industry in the early years of litigation. Therefore, as we learned in that litigation, our only choice is to continue to set cases for trial as quickly as possible. Our next trial is scheduled for January 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri and we hope to have another trial scheduled in California in the near future. We will not stop fighting until justice is fully realized.
The evidence we presented at Lee’s trial was merely the tip of the iceberg and our case is only getting stronger as we move forward. There are new studies being published showing the negative health effects of exposure to Roundup. We are uncovering new documents that shed light on how the surfactants and other ingredients, including some that have been classified by IARC as group 1 carcinogens, act together to cause cancer. You can rest assured that The Miller Firm is working hard to uncover the full story behind this extremely toxic chemical.
If you are still using Roundup around your home or business, we urge you to stop. We encourage you to contact your legislator and tell them about how you feel about EPA’s relationship with Monsanto and the regulation of pesticides. Contact your school boards and local government officials and tell them about how you feel about the use of Roundup in public places. Monsanto has made it clear that change will not happen simply because of one jury verdict. The Miller Firm has a long history of taking on large corporations that refuse to warn the public about known risks associated with their products but we need all of your help to continue the momentum from Lee’s verdict.
If you have been exposed to Roundup and have not retained an attorney please contact our firm at (540) 672-4224 or email Shane Hodge at [email protected]. If you were previously employed by Monsanto and have information about Roundup, surfactants, or the company generally, please email David Dickens at [email protected].