Case against Monsanto over Roundup, Ranger Pro goes to jury

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Jurors heard closing arguments Tuesday in the case against Monsanto alleging it's weed killer products Ranger Pro and Roundup cause cancer. The trial has been precedent setting as it is the first of thousands of similar lawsuits.

Attorney Brent Wisner told jurors they have the chance to change the world with a decision that would hold Monsanto accountable.

"Today is their day of reckoning. Every single cancer risk that has been found had this moment where the science finally caught up, where they couldn't bury it anymore," Wisner told jurors.

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In 2012 Plaintiff Dewayne Lee Johnson worked for Benicia School District as the integrative pest manager. A large part of his job was spraying Ranger Pro and Roundup weed killer. Johnson's attorneys say after two and a half years of spraying the pesticide thirty times a year he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Wisner questioned Monsanto's approach to science and the EPA's assessment of Ranger Pro and Roundup.

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"This is the person in the EPA, the person who is supposed to be looking out for our health bragging to a Monsanto employee that he's going to kill something another person's investigation of it and if he does it he should get a medal," Wisner said to jurors while showing them an email.

Monsanto's attorney George Lombardi cited 40 years of scientific studies.

"The evidence is clear the message from that evidence is clear and it's that this cancer was not caused by Ranger Pro," said Lombardi.

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Lombardi said human studies were the most compelling.

"They concluded not just that NHL is not caused not associated with Glyphosate but that Mr. Johnson's type of cancer is not associated with glyphosate," said Lombardi.

Plaintiffs are seeking more than $39 million in compensatory damages and $373 million in punitive damages.

"I do want Monsanto to be punished for what they've done and if it requires one big case and one big number to make them change their conduct, put a warning on a label, then absolutely," said Wisner to reporters in the hallway outside court.

The jury is expected to begin deliberating Wednesday.
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