A man whose lawsuit claimed the popular weed and grass killer Roundup gave him cancer won $289 million from Monsanto who, along with Haliburton, GlaxoSmithKline and whoever decides how much potato chips to put in the bag, have been longstanding symbols of corporate evil.
Dewayne “not the Rock” Johnson, a former school groundskeeper, initiated the first of thousands of lawsuits that claim that glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, causes cancer. Johnson suffers from non-Hodgkins lymphoma after working at a school district where he was asked to spray Roundup from a 50-gallon tank, often in gusty winds that left his face covered with the product, according to the Associated Press.
Johnson’s lawsuit said he read the label and called the company after he developed a rash, but neither the product label nor the people at the company mentioned anything about cancer, which, in my opinion, would have been the first thing a not evil company would have done.
Thirty-nine million of the amount Monsanto is ordered to pay Johnson is for compensatory damages. The jury awarded another $250 million in punitive damages.
Of course, Monsanto denies that Roundup causes cancer despite the fact that the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, classifies glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen” and the state of California lists it as a cancer-causing chemical.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency does not list glyphosate as a carcinogen, however, I would like to remind you that the former head of the EPA spent much of his time balling on taxpayer dollars and trying to get a Chick-fil-A franchise for his wife.
Monsanto has vowed to appeal the verdict, probably because the Johnson case sets precedent for similar lawsuits set to parade through courts around the country. And also, there’s that evil thing.
“This jury found Monsanto acted with malice and oppression because they knew what they were doing was wrong and doing it with reckless disregard for human life,” said Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who was part of Johnson’s legal team. “This should send a strong message to the boardroom of Monsanto.”
“Nah,” said Satan, a non-voting member of Monsanto’s board. “There’s a lot of money in this whole ‘being evil’ shit. It’s a very lucrative sector of the industry.”