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Noland Law Firm, LLC Legal Blog

Monday, September 10, 2018

Jury Verdict Against Monsanto in First Cancer Injury Lawsuit

Q: Are weed killer manufacturers responsible for causing or contributing to users’ cancer?

Personal injury attorneys across the nation watched with interest as a former groundskeeper with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was awarded a huge verdict in the first case of thousands pending nationwide against Monsanto alleging their weed-killing product Roundup™ up causes or contributes to cancer.

As part of his job, the groundskeeper not only reportedly sprayed 50-gallon tanks of Roundup™ while working from a truck – – a practice he claimed caused the product to blow in his face from the wind, but he also claimed the product "soaked his entire body" once when a hose broke. He claims he read the product label and contacted Monsanto after he developed a rash "but was never warned it could cause cancer".

In its defense, attorneys for Monsanto who plan to appeal, cited scientific studies that the glyphosate-containing weed killer is safe, and that the plaintiff’s cancer "must've started well before he began working at the school district”.

In 2015, the World Health Organization classified glyphosate – – the active ingredient in Roundup™ – – as a "probable human carcinogen". Moreover, California--where this lawsuit was brought– – includes glyphosate on its "list of chemicals known to cause cancer".

Under personal injury law, a person injured as a result of the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions or inactions of another person or entity, may be entitled to recover compensatory damages for their physical and psychological pain and other losses. In order to do so, they must establish that their injuries were caused or contributed to by the defendants.

Within personal injury law is a doctrine known as product liability law. It holds companies liable for injuries caused as a result of their dangerous or defective products. The injuries may stem from design defects, manufacturing errors, or inadequate labeling which does not include sufficient safety instructions or warnings.

In the groundskeeper case, the plaintiff’s attorney said the 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".  Specifically, the jury "agreed the product contributed to [plaintiff’s] cancer and the company should've provided a label warning of the potential health hazard".

The jury awarded the plaintiff $39 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages-- which are damages designed to punish defendants and deter them from acting in a similar manner in the future.

If you believe you've been harmed by a dangerous or defective product or have been injured in any kind of accident, the personal injury attorneys at Noland Law Firm can help maximize the compensation to which you may be entitled. Contact us today for a free consultation.

From our offices in Liberty, Missouri, we represent clients and their families in Kansas City, Blue Springs, Gladstone, Independence, Liberty, Clay County, and throughout the greater Kansas City area.


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