Recently a jury in San Francisco, California let their voice be heard when, after three days of deliberation, jurors awarded a plaintiff $289 million in a civil action against Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup weed killer. Mr. Dewayne Johnson, a former groundskeeper, alleges that his use of Roundup weed killer caused his diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
This verdict will certainly provide hope for the more than 800 known Roundup users and cancer patients that have currently presented legal claims. As reported by CNN, Monsanto Company failed to warn consumers of the risks of Roundup, particularly cancer.
HOW MUCH POWER DOES A JURY HAVE?
What interests me in this story is evidenced by the power a jury can still hold in the United States. Thankfully, a jury in the U.S. still has the right and authority to punish an individual, a company or a manufacturer when the acts of these individuals is warranted. Just as a jury can determine no punishment in certain cases, they can also deliver stiff monetary judgments that will hopefully deter companies and manufacturers from putting the consumer at risk.
Most large companies understand they face possible litigation due to product risks, even when their research shows the risk is outweighed by potential profit. This is especially true for products containing highly dangerous chemicals. Sadly, the only way some companies may reconsider putting a dangerous product into the hands of consumers is for a jury to issue judgements that will affect the company’s bottom line and profits, as demonstrated by the fact that shares in Bayer Corp., which had recently acquired Monsanto, fell sharply after news of the $289 million dollar verdict.
In addition to the monetary award, the use of Roundup has been discontinued by the City of Novato, California, with other cities possibly to follow. These types of actions, when taken in conjunction with a large monetary award, will prevent big business and manufacturing from distributing harmful chemicals and dangerous products in order to protect the consumer.
what is the purpose of a jury?
A jury of our peers is the backbone of the American legal system. Juries provide a voice of reason, a checks and balance system and a method to provide punishment, both civilly and criminally. While we may not always agree with a jury, we must still trust that a majority of the time, the voice is heard, and it is just.
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury due to a defective product, you may be able to seek compensation. If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys about your rights and legal options, contact our office right away by calling (901) 526-9494. The Products Liability Litigation Attorneys at The Chiozza Law Firm are an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in all types of civil actions. We are handling individual litigation claims nationwide, and we are currently accepting new injury cases in all 50 states.
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