Glyphosate, Supreme Court upholds condemnation of Monsanto in U.S.


Supreme Court upholds San Francisco jury conviction of Monsanto-Bayer for incurable disease caused by glyphosate, or glyphosate, to a gardener who used it for years.

Glyphosate, the judgment in the U.S.

The San Francisco District Court

had condemned Monsanto

, on 10.8.18, to a penalty of $289 million. 39 million in damages to Dewayne Johnson, a gardener sentenced to death by non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and 250 million in ‘

punitive damage


Dewayne Johnson’s compensation claim was the first to be considered by a U.S. judge. Among the nearly 9,000 submitted so far, for glyphosate-related harm. He had sued Monsanto, manufacturer of the herbicide Roundup, alleging that glyphosate-the active ingredient in Roundup-caused his cancer.

The Supreme Court ruled on 10/23/18, following Monsanto-Bayer’s appeal. Confirming the verdict of the trial judge as far as the claim of liability is concerned. Rather, by significantly reducing the so-called ‘punitive damage‘, from US$250 million to US$39 million. The complainant will now have to decide whether to accept the total sum of $78 million, or to remit the punitive damages portion.

The shares of Bayer-which had completed its $63 billion acquisition of Monsanto in June 2018-have thus predictably experienced a second collapse.

Glyphosate damage compensation, precedents and perspectives

Glyphosate (or glyphosate) was classified as a probable human carcinogen in 2015 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization. (1) In 2017, glyphosate was also listed by the California Office of Environmental Health Risk Assessment as a chemical known to the state to cause cancer. (2)

The legal action

by Dewayne Johnson was based on the aforementioned assessments, as well as on the so-called.

Monsanto papers

. (3) A series of internal documents showing that the Corporation had for years had precise knowledge of the risks to human health from exposure to the poisonous pesticide.

The most prominent precedent, in U.S. jurisprudence, dates back to the early 1980s. When residents of Woburn, Massachusetts sued two large corporations responsible for contaminating groundwater with trichloroethylene. They attributed that pollution as the cause of the many cases of leukemia that occurred in the area. The lawsuit – later described in a book and film, ‘A Civil Action’ – led to both the damages sought and an investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency and subsequent prosecution of those responsible.

The next glyphosate lawsuit will take place in St. Louis, Missouri (Ronald Peterson and Jeff Hall V. Monsanto case, first hearing set for 5.2.19). (4) Also awaited are the proposed requests for expedited proceedings in Gallatin, Montana (Cazier V. Monsanto case) and in Alameda (Mr. and Mrs. Pilliod V. Monsanto case). (5) Still waiting, among other things, for Vietnam to act to recover damages caused by Agent Orange to millions of its citizens.

In Europe meanwhile. – While politics plays at compromise on the health of its inhabitants – the glyphosate and other poisons are freely sold through ecommerce, from Amazon and other distributors. Under the guilty silence of the authorities who are supposed to monitor compliance with the current rules.

Dario Dongo


(1) IARC, monograph on glyphosate, at.

(2) Cf.


(4) V.

(5) Cf.