Ruling Against Monsanto Upheld

An appeals court has rejected Bayer AG’s argument that the original trial jury lacked a basis to conclude that subsidiary Monsanto’s RoundUp weed killer caused Dewayne Johnson’s cancer. While, the judge also ruled to dramatically reduce the punitive damages against Bayer, the decision could open up the agri-giant to more suits.

By Mark Anderson

The ruling by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos to reject the arguments of drug giant Bayer AG and let stand a ruling in favor of ex-groundskeeper Dewayne “Lee” Johnson—who developed severe cancer from exposure to Roundup, the infamous weed-killing product—has the potential to open the floodgates against certain corporate interests that for way too long have been predominant, especially in the U.S.

“This ruling opens Bayer to considerably higher damages as thousands of plaintiffs across the country have made similar legal claims, alleging that glyphosate [the herbicide in Roundup] exposure caused their cancer or resulted in the deaths of their loved ones,” the alternative news website “Zero Hedge” noted.

In a statement at the time of the initial ruling in Johnson’s favor, his attorney, Brent Wisner, remarked that the verdict sent a “message to Monsanto that its years of deception regarding Roundup [are] over and that they should put consumer safety first over profits.”

Kingdom Identity

Germany-based Bayer AG purchased Monsanto for $63 million in June. In turning down Bayer AG’s appeal of the verdict, Bolanos rejected the company’s argument that the jury lacked a basis to conclude that the herbicide caused Johnson’s cancer. The twist, however, is that Judge Bolanos also ruled to dramatically reduce the punitive damages against Bayer—from the initial ruling of $289 million down to $39 million, while noting that if Johnson did not accept the lower punitive damages, she may order a new trial.

“The punitive damages award must be constitutionally reduced to the maximum allowed by due process in this case—$39,253,209.35—equal to the amount of compensatory damages awarded by the jury based on its findings of harm to the plaintiff,” she explained.

Because of the advanced state of Johnson’s Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a lymphatic cancer shown to have been caused by his exposure to both Roundup and Ranger Pro, a similar glyphosate-based herbicide, his physicians didn’t think he’d live long enough to see the verdict. But he held on to see a San Francisco jury award him a total of $289 million in overall damages.

That initial award consisted of nearly $40 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages. But with punitive and compensatory damages each reduced to just over $39 million, Johnson and his lawyers will end up getting about $80 million instead of $289 million. Still, this represents a major victory against a corporate colossus that is one of the most despised companies in the world.

“[The] decision does not change the fact that more than 800 scientific studies and reviews—and conclusions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. National Institutes of Health and regulatory authorities around the world—support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer, and did not cause Mr. Johnson’s cancer,” Monsanto Vice President Scott Partridge claimed in a statement.

Johnson believes his case will have long-term outcomes, including new restrictions and labeling for the herbicide. “I hope [Monsanto] gets the message that people in America and across the world are not ignorant. They have already done their own research. I’m hoping that it snow-balls and people really get the picture and they start to make decisions about what they eat [and] what they spray in their farms.”

Get Out of CashBased on that statement, it’s worth adding that glyphosate worms its way into many common cereals—just one example, among many, of how the herbicide can be ingested besides being exposed to it through grounds-keeping work.

According to the Center for Environmental Health (CEH), glyphosate “is the most widely used herbicide in the U.S. It is the most commonly used pesticide in parks and is even found in foods that adults and kids love. . . . Is glyphosate hazardous for kids? Absolutely.”

A CEH online summary noted: “Corn and soybeans are commonly grown using Roundup, but it’s also used on hundreds of other crops. Glyphosate is sometimes used to dry out oats just prior to harvest.”

So, beyond celebrating the major corporate pushback that Johnson’s victory represents, it would be wise for the public to ask questions and create or seek out local farms and other trustworthy food sources to minimize or avoid exposure.

Agriculture, by its very nature, should be locally sourced for purposes of proper nutrition, security in the event of civil unrest, and to avoid spoilage and contamination. That commonsense approach can proactively close the avenues through which agri-chemical exposure happens in the first place.

Mark Anderson is a AFP’s roving editor. He invites your thoughtful comments and story ideas at [email protected]




Monsanto Caught Red-Handed

Despite the mega-corporation’s desperate attempts to keep company secrets secret, internal emails written by top Monsanto executives that were gathered during the discovery phase of a lawsuit now underway have been unsealed. What did this treasure trove of darkness reveal? The claim being made by hundreds of plaintiffs in the current combined cases in federal court is not nonsense, as the company has long insisted. These executives did indeed cover up the known carcinogenic dangers of Roundup. Will the U.S. Congress and the federal agencies responsible for Americans’ health and safety finally ban the substance, as the European Union, Sri Lanka, El Salvador and others have wisely done?

By James Spounias

The evidence against Monsanto’s Roundup and other herbicides containing glyphosate may not get any clearer, even to the thickest-headed believers of Roundup’s safety.

As reported by this writer earlier this year in American Free Press, Monsanto is being sued by individuals in federal court in San Francisco, on the basis that its herbicide Roundup brought on non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in individuals.

Documents released by one of Monsanto’s law firms cast a dark shadow on the company’s knowledge of the danger of Roundup and its main ingredient, glyphosate. Monsanto claims that the documents were released against attorney-client confidentiality. The law firm countered that Monsanto did not properly protect the documents in question, and the documents have now been made public, irrespective of the quibbling of lawyers.

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Monsanto fought releasing these and many other documents, but now that they’re out, Monsanto’s vice president of global strategy, Scott Partridge, argues that they include “some cherry-picked things that can be made to look bad,” which don’t affect “the substance and science,” reported The New York Times on Aug. 1.

One can judge the seriousness of Partridge’s assurances of safety versus the mother lode of admission made in following emails. The Times notes a Monsanto scientist wrote in a 2001 email, “If somebody came to me and said they wanted to test Roundup I know how I would react—with serious concern.”

The story also quotes a 2002 email in which a Monsanto executive wrote, “What I’ve been hearing from you is that this continues to be the case with these studies—Glyphosate is O.K. but the formulated product (and thus the surfactant) does the damage.”

This 2002 snippet corroborates this writer’s Dec. 9, 2016 American Free Press story that quoted Dr. Robin Mesnage, a cancer expert with the Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics at King College in London, who provided evidence for the statement that adjuvants make glyphosate 1,000 times more toxic than glyphosate alone.

Also, in the Sept. 18, 2015 issue of American Free Press the fact that adjuvants make glyphosate worse was explained by this writer, quoting professor Robert Belle who stated “it would be necessary to look more closely at the numerous additives that go into [Roundup] and their interaction,” in light of the fact that glyphosate, not Roundup, was registered in Europe. Roundup, again, includes adjuvants that make glyphosate more dangerous.

Another gem of a snippet, written by a different Monsanto executive in a 2003 email, is included in the Times’s Aug. 1 story: “You cannot say that Roundup is not a carcinogen . . . we have not done the necessary testing on the formulation to make that statement.” Yet the same executive added, “We can make that statement about glyphosate and can infer that there is no reason to believe that Roundup would cause cancer.”

No reason to “infer” Roundup would cause cancer flies in the face of data released as early as 1981 suggesting that glyphosate does cause cancer, according to information leaked by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Is there enough evidence to initiate a criminal investigation in light of these emails?

Mike Papantonio, a noted American trial lawyer, author, and host of “America’s Lawyer” on RT, believes so, saying the Department of Justice has these facts and can issue subpoenas and indictments.

“But you watch,” Papantonio told Thomm Hartmann on RT’s “The Big Picture” on Aug. 4. “They won’t do it,” suggesting that corporations of Monsanto’s stature will at worst get a “slap on the wrist” via fines.

Both the Republican and Democratic parties have evidently been completely bought by Monsanto and other substantial corporations that, not so ironically, are closely tied to the six corporations that run the media.

The alternative media has reported extensively on the vast dangers of glyphosate, particularly how it disrupts gut-bacteria and how its introduction and proliferation correlates to numerous disease states, such as autism and many other conditions, as reported by Dr. Stephanie Seneff and Anthony Samsel.

Will these latest admissions by Monsanto finally trigger a tipping point at which polluters and government toadies begin to be brought to heel?

Spread the word and be part of the worldwide movement to make it happen.

RELATED: Glyphosate & Roundup Tied to Serious Health Problems

Glyphosate, an ingredient in Monsanto’s Round up, impairs male offspring reproductive development, according to a study published in the Archives of Toxicology, where study authors concluded “maternal exposure to glyphosate disturbed the masculinization process and promoted behavioral changes and histological and endocrine problems in reproductive parameters.” Keep in mind that we’re literally drinking, breathing, and swimming in glyphosate (it has contaminated streams, rivers, and lakes across the U.S.). In a 2015 study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Reproduction, the authors detailed how pesticides, among other factors, lower testosterone levels, leading to reproductive dysfunction and infertility. What was fairly unknown 20 years ago is now common today, with younger and younger generations of men and women facing hormonal and reproductive issues, much more so than in the past. —CAROLE VALENTINE, Carotec co-founder