Dewayne Johnson vs Monsanto: David won against Goliath
The Superior Court of San Francisco delivered a historic judgement on 10 August 2018. The court condemned Monsanto to pay 289 million dollars in damages to Dewayne Johnson, a Californian gardener.
Dewayne Johnson worked for the Benicia School District (California) and was responsible for the maintenance of green spaces. He frequently used Roundup, the world’s most popular herbicide produced by the firm Monsanto. After several years of use of this weedkiller, Dewayne Johnson was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, which is a cancer of the lymphatic system.
Mr. Johnson was certain that his cancer had been caused by the use of Roundup. This is why he decided to take Monsanto to court, arguing that the firm didn’t inform consumers about the dangerousness of its product. In fact, Monsanto mislabeled Roundup as a “safe product”. And this despite the fact that in 2015 glyphosate had been classified as probably carcinogenic to humans by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Dewayne Johnson has terminal cancer and maximum 2 years left to live. But the Californian legislation allowed him to have this last fight. In fact, a Californian law forced the court to render a decision before the death of Mr. Johnson. The Superior Court of San Francisco finally decided to condemn Monsanto to pay 289 million dollars in damages to Dewayne Johnson. This historic judgement will have a huge impact on the 4000 other trials against Monsanto and Roundup that are taking place in the USA.
But it will also have an enormous impact on the activity of the German company Bayer, which decided to buy Monsanto. After the court decision, the share price of Bayer drastically falled: this shows that investors mistrusted this acquisition. Some say that Monsanto is not the best investment opportunity nowadays… Time will tell if the agrochemical giant will survive this crisis.