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A San Francisco jury has ruled in favor of a California man who says the cancer he contracted was caused by the popular weed killer Roundup.

In the first of thousands of Roundup lawsuits, the jury awarded $289 million-$39 million in compensatory and $250 million in punitive damages.  Such a high punitive damages award is significant because it demonstrates the jury’s conviction that Monsanto knew Roundup was a lethal product that causes cancer.

The jury at San Francisco’s Superior Court of California deliberated for three days before finding that Monsanto had failed to warn Dewayne Johnson, a school groundskeeper and other consumers of the cancer risks posed by its weed killers.

Johnson’s case, filed in 2016, was fast-tracked for trial due to the severity of his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph system that he alleges was caused by Roundup and Ranger Pro, another Monsanto glyphosate herbicide. Johnson’s doctors said he is unlikely to live past 2020.

A former pest control manager for a California county school system, Johnson, 46, applied the weed killer up to 30 times per year.

While debate raged during the trial concerning the danger of glyphosate as a carcinogen, the interaction between glyphosate and other ingredients in Roundup cause a “synergistic effect” that makes the product more carcinogenic.

A Roundup MDL (multidistrict litigation) has been formed to coordinate the lawsuits in federal court and there are approximately 4,000cases awaiting trial in state courts. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has a web page to provide updated information to lawyers, journalists, and others wishing to keep current as these cases progress:

Monsanto scientists knew of the cancer risk posed by Roundup as far back as the 1970s, but failed to inform the public and instead engaged in a deliberate effort to distort the truth as the weed killer generated hefty financial returns for the Company.

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