The fight of Dewayne Johnson, a 46-year-old former groundskeeper against agricultural giant Monsanto, is groundbreaking. The one man fight against the company has proven to be successful with the court holding the company accountable and asking it to pay a compensation of 298 million dollars to the petitioner. The judgment has turned out to be a major blow to the company which had constantly been denying accusations that have been coming against them.
All of it began when Dewayne Johnson who had constantly been working with “round up”, a weed killer, was affected with cancer. He was a school groundskeeper and had developed a severe and fatal form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Subsequently, he filed a lawsuit holding the company accountable for the same as it did not provide a warning to the users of the health hazards that would be caused by exposure to it. However, Monsanto denied the accusation and claimed that Roundup was safe and submitted research reports that substantiated their claims. However, at the end of a month-long trial, the agri-corp was held responsible.
Dewayne Johnson’s is the first case which took Monsanto to court over accusations that the chemical sold under the brand Roundup causes cancer. The case is also a hope for many who have been suffering the same issue.
Interestingly, the company’s own emails acted as evidence in the case. The jury pronounced the defendants guilty and stated that there was clear and convincing evidence that the officials of the company acted with malice or oppression failing to warn its users of the risk. Though there were many works coming about the unsafety of the particular product, Monsanto continued their propaganda through various platforms claiming otherwise.
“The jury paid attention throughout this long trial and clearly understood the science and also understood Monsanto’s role in trying to hide the truth,” said Aimee Wagstaff, one of several attorneys around the US who are representing other plaintiffs making similar claims with Dewayne Johnson, reports Guardian.
Following this, another trial would soon be happening in St Louis in October. A minimum of 4000 people has complained about the company. The claims not just limits roundup as a cause of cancer but also holds the company accountable for covering up the dangers even as they were aware of it.
However, even after the judgment came out, Monsanto has maintained that evidence was misrepresented in the court. An appeal would be made against the verdict as they claim that scientific research disproves the claim made by the complainant, according to Monsanto’s press statement. This would also mean a delay in dispatching the compensation to Johnson, who has two young sons.
Data suggests that roughly 826 million kilograms of Glyphosate-based herbicides like Roundup are in use around the world and there has been no regulation so far related to the issue. Marie Monique who has come up with the first comprehensive study on Monsanto- ‘The world according to Monsanto: Pollution, corruption, and control of world’s food supply‘ has described the company to be the Big brother of the new world agricultural order.
Monsanto, the multinational corporation based in St Louis, USA now holds the patent for more than 90% GM crops. This is to be seen seriously because the company has the potential to control the agriculture sector around the globe and the threat it possesses isn’t negligible.