'A jury has ordered the chemical giant Monsanto to pay a terminally ill school groundskeeper $289 million (£226 million) in damages in the first trial over claims that its Roundup weedkiller causes cancer.
Lee Johnson, whose doctors didn’t think he’d live long enough to learn the verdict, prevailed Friday in San Francisco state court after jurors deliberated for three days.
The trial was an important test of the evidence against Monsanto and will serve as a template for litigating thousands of other claims over the herbicide.
The company immediately said it would appeal against the decision and tried to reassure consumers - including those using Roundup in Britain - that its weedkiller was safe.
Mr Johnson was seeking $412 million in damages. Jurors awarded him $39 million for his losses and $250 million to punish the company after finding it liable for a design defect and failing to warn of Roundup’s risks. Monsanto said it will appeal.
Monsanto vice president Scott Partridge told the Press Association: "Roundup has been safe for four decades and will continue to be safe. There is no credible scientific evidence that demonstrates otherwise.
"It is completely and totally safe and the public should not be concerned about this verdict... We will work through the legal process to see if we can get the right result. The science is crystal clear."
Germany’s Bayer AG closed a deal to buy Monsanto for $66 billion in June.
If the litigation generates large verdicts against Monsanto, it could have a material impact on Bayer’s bottom line, said Chris Perrella, an analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence.'
Read more: Monsanto ordered to pay $289 million to terminally ill groundsman who used Roundup weedkiller
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