Jury's $289M award in Roundup cancer suit heads to court

A San Francisco jury's $289 million verdict in favor of a school groundskeeper who says Roundup weed killer caused his cancer will face its first court test today.

Agribusiness giant Monsanto will argue at a hearing that Judge Suzanne Bolanos should throw out the verdict in favor of DeWayne Johnson. Attorneys for the company say Johnson failed to prove that Roundup or similar herbicides caused his lymphoma, and presented no evidence that Monsanto executives were malicious in marketing Roundup. Bolanos wasn’t expected to rule immediately.

The attorneys said in court documents regulators around the world have concluded on "multiple occasions" that the active ingredient in Roundup — glyphosate — is not a human carcinogen. They called the jury verdict "extraordinary" and said it requires "exceptional scrutiny."

Johnson's attorneys responded in court documents that the jury was well-educated and attentive. The attorneys say the evidence at trial was "more than sufficient to support an inference" that Johnson's cancer was caused by his exposure to Monsanto's herbicides.

Dawn Kamber