The chemical giant was ordered to pay up after a jury found its products likely caused cancer
For years, DeWayne “Lee” Johnson drove a truck with a 50-gallon tank of Monsanto’s Ranger Pro pesticide mounted on top. A groundskeeper for the Benicia Unified School District in Solano County, California, north of San Francisco, Johnson went through hundreds of gallons of the stuff every week between the truck and his backpack sprayer. When it was windy, the pesticide would coat his body in a fine chemical mist. One day, the tank’s hose broke, soaking him from head to toe. A few months later, he developed a rash on his knee. A few months after that, the rash spread across his body. In 2014, Johnson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
On Friday, a California jury found that Monsanto’s products likely caused Johnson’s cancer, and ordered the company to pay the terminally-ill groundskeeper $289 million.