Monsanto stood to pay out millions more if the company loses its expected appeal of a jury award Friday to a Black man dying of cancer after using its product.
The agricultural giant would have to pay Dewayne Johnson interest on the $289 million award, CNN reported.
That would amount to approximately $25 million a year on damages, over several years, to finally reach a conclusion in the California Supreme Court, Johnson’s attorney Timothy Litzenburg stated.
A jury in San Francisco ruled that Johnson’s use of the weed killer Roundup gave him terminal cancer. Johnson, 46, was a school groundskeeper who applied the product 20 to 30 times each year to control weeds. He had two accidents since 2012 in which he was soaked with chemicals from the product. Doctors diagnosed him in 2014 with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Monsanto, which continued to deny that its product is dangerous, vowed to appeal what Litzenburg described as a historic jury award.
“We will appeal this decision and continue to vigorously defend this product, which has a 40-year history of safe use and continues to be a vital, effective and safe tool for farmers and others,” Monsanto Vice President Scott Partridge said.
Johnson’s case was the first of thousands against the agricultural company to come before a court. There are more than 4,000 similar cases pending across the country. This was the first case tried in court because Johnson was the closest to dying.
He’s a husband and father of two sons. Johnson’s wife had been working two full-time jobs to help make ends meet for the family. However, it could be years before the family is compensated if Monsanto goes forward with its appeal.