Judge upholds Monsanto verdict, cuts award to $78 million

A Northern California judge has upheld a jury's verdict that found Monsanto's weed killer caused a groundskeeper's cancer, but she slashed the amount of money to be paid from $289 million to $78 million.

In denying Monsanto's request for a new trial, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos cut the jury's punitive damage award from $250 million to $39 million. The judge had earlier said she had strong doubts about the jury's entire punitive damage award.

Bolanos gave DeWayne Johnson until Dec. 7 to accept the reduced amount or demand a new trial.

Johnson's spokeswoman Diana McKinley said he and his lawyers are reviewing the decision and haven't decided the next step. "Although we believe a reduction in punitive damages was unwarranted and we are weighing the options, we are pleased the court didn’t disturb the verdict."

Monsanto spokesman Daniel Childs said that the company was pleased with the reduced reward but still planned to appeal the verdict. Childs said there's no scientific proof linking Roundup to cancer.

The jury awarded punitive damages after it found that the St. Louis-based agribusiness had purposely ignored warnings and evidence that its popular Roundup product causes cancer, including Johnson's lymphoma.

 

Dawn Kamber