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.”

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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 Forced to Pay Man $289 Million in Cancer Case

The profit-hungry agri-giant often called “the evil empire” has been slapped for poisoning a school groundskeeper who used their glyphosate-based weed killers, and now, the behemoth is looking at more than 5,000 similar lawsuits. Glyphosate has recently been confirmed in oat breakfast cereals and bars, yet the FDA continues to remain silent about its dangers even while other countries ban Monsanto products.

By S.T. Patrick

Sometimes David really does defeat Goliath. A California jury this month found that Monsanto’s glyphosate-based weed killers like Roundup caused the cancer of school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson. As a result of the decision, Monsanto has been ordered to pay Johnson $289 million in damages. Johnson may be only the first victorious David, as Monsanto now faces over 5,000 similar lawsuits across the United States.

Despite a Monsanto spokesman arguing that “more than 800 scientific studies and reviews . . . support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer and did not cause Mr. Johnson’s cancer,” the jury awarded damages to Johnson, whose attorney explained that, for the first time, jurors were privy to internal company documents “proving that Monsanto has known for decades that glyphosate and specifically Roundup could cause cancer.”

The cancer arm of the World Health Organization in 2015 had determined that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

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Study results published just days after the Johnson news broke revealed that some oat breakfast cereals and snack bars marketed toward children are laced with glyphosate. Of the 45 products containing oats tested by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), 43 contained traces of glyphosate and 31 exceeded the EWG’s child-protective daily exposure benchmark of 160 ppb.

EWG reports the FDA is aware of the dangers from glyphosates but remaining silent: “In April, internal emails obtained by the nonprofit US Right to Know revealed that the Food and Drug Administration has been testing food for glyphosate for two years and has found ‘a fair amount,’ but the FDA has not released its findings.”

Glyphosate has been used by Monsanto in weed killers since 1974, and organics activists are claiming Monsanto has known about the effects of the chemical since the early 1980s. Monsanto has since aggressively marketed glyphosate as “safer than table salt” and “practically nontoxic.”

Monsanto has not only tied its weed killers to glyphosate; the agrochemical giant tied its billion-dollar seed business to the same toxic chemical. Monsanto has inserted genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into plants since 1983. It introduced GMOs to crops in 1987. A line of “Roundup Ready” seed was introduced to coincide with the glyphosate weed killers. Products like Roundup would then kill the weeds without killing the seeds. Monsanto is the world’s largest distributor of seeds today, controlling nearly one-quarter of the world market. DuPont is second and shares with Monsanto a commitment to GMO seed production.

This is not the first time Monsanto’s chemicals have come under fire. Monsanto abandoned DDT production “for economic reasons . . . long before any environmental concerns were brought to the table.” Despite later reports that proved its toxicity, Monsanto’s website still touts DDT as an effective preventative measure against malaria. Apparently, deadly chemicals do kill mosquitoes. The pesticide was banned by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1972 because it was said to cause cancer and kill wildlife.

From 1965 to 1969, Monsanto was one of the nine companies contracted by the U.S. government to manufacture Agent Orange for use in the Vietnam theater of war. It was designed, according to Monsanto, as a “defoliant to protect the lives of U.S. soldiers.” It was also used to destroy enemy food crops—and lives. The Vietnamese government reported that as many as 3 million people have died or have suffered illnesses that stem from Agent Orange. Many American veterans have settled out of court  with Monsanto, but some denied the settlement, as it would have exempted them from certain government benefits and care.

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In 2004, Monsanto spokesperson Jill Montgomery asserted that the company should not be held liable for any illnesses or deaths resulting from Agent Orange.

“We are sympathetic with people who believe they have been injured and understand their concern to find the cause,” Montgomery said. “But reliable scientific evidence indicates that Agent Orange is not the cause of serious long-term health effects.”

After Johnson’s Roundup lawsuit verdict was announced, Bayer AG, which had purchased Monsanto for $66 billion in June, saw its stock plunge more than it had in seven years. The $289 million judgment erased more than $11 billion from the German drug conglomerate’s market value. Bayer had already intended to drop the Monsanto name from its operations. Monsanto has for years earned nicknames such as “the evil empire” and “the world’s most evil corporation.” Bayer acquired the profits yet wanted to discard the reputation and public opinion.

Globally, governments and courts have taken a harsher stand against Monsanto’s products. A judge in Brazil recently suspended the sale of all products containing glyphosate. A Monsanto tribunal took place in 2016-17 in The Hague. The five judges presiding over the tribunal ruled that the activities of Monsanto have a negative impact on basic human rights.

Dewayne Johnson is one of millions sickened, injured, or killed by Monsanto products. Yet, the company still maintains a stranglehold on the bureaucrats within the government.

Until politicians are exposed for their loyalty to and, in many cases, their work for Monsanto, the company’s power within the government will continue to grow—like a fungus ironically immune from Monsanto’s most dangerous products.

S. T. Patrick holds degrees in both journalism and social studies education. He spent ten years as an educator and now hosts the “Midnight Writer News Show.” His email is [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