US jury backs man who claims Roundup weed killer caused cancer - Canadanewsmedia
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US jury backs man who claims Roundup weed killer caused cancer

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A San Francisco jury on Friday ordered agribusiness giant Monsanto to pay US$289 million to a former school groundskeeper dying of cancer, saying the company’s popular Roundup weed killer contributed to his disease.

Dewayne Johnson’s lawsuit was the first of hundreds of cases filed in state and federal courts alleging that Roundup causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which Monsanto denies.

Jurors in state Superior Court agreed the product contributed to Johnson’s cancer and the company should have provided a label warning of the potential health hazard. Johnson’s attorneys sought and won US$39 million in compensatory damages and US$250 million of the US$373 million they wanted in punitive damages.

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“This jury found Monsanto acted with malice and oppression because they knew what they were doing was wrong and doing it with reckless disregard for human life,” said Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a member of Johnson’s legal team. “This should send a strong message to the boardroom of Monsanto.”

Monsanto has denied a link between the active ingredient in Roundup — glyphosate — and cancer, saying hundreds of studies have established that glyphosate is safe.

Monsanto spokesman Scott Partridge said the company will appeal. Partridge said scientific studies and two government agencies have concluded that Roundup does not cause cancer.

“We are sympathetic to Mr. Johnson and his family,” Partridge said. “We will appeal this decision and continue to vigorously defend this product, which has a 40-year history of safe use and continues to be a vital, effective, and safe tool for farmers and others.”

Johnson used Roundup and a similar product, Ranger Pro, as a pest control manager at a San Francisco Bay Area school district, his lawyers said. He sprayed large quantities from a 50-gallon tank attached to a truck, and during gusty winds, the product would cover his face, said Brent Wisner, one of his attorneys.

Once, when a hose broke, the weed killer soaked his entire body.

Johnson read the label and even contacted the company after developing a rash but was never warned it could cause cancer, Wisner said. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014 at age 42.

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“The simple fact is he is going to die. It’s just a matter of time,” Wisner told the jury in his opening statement last month.

But George Lombardi, an attorney for Monsanto, said non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma takes years to develop, so Johnson’s cancer must have started well before he began working at the school district.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says Roundup’s active ingredient is safe for people when used in accordance with label directions.

However, the France-based International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, classified it as a “probable human carcinogen” in 2015. California added glyphosate to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer.

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OLG wants out of estranged couple's fight over $6M ticket

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Handout/Chatham Daily News On Thursday, January 4, 2018, Maurice Thibeault picked up half of the just over $6-million lottery prize he won from the September 20, 2017 LOTTO 6/49 draw on a ticket he purchased in Chatham, Ont. Controversy has surrounded the lottery win since Thibeault's former common-law girlfriend Denise Robertson claimed she was owed half of the winnings, because they had been purchasing lottery tickets together.

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WINDSOR — Ontario’s lottery regulator is urging a judge to let it walk away from an ugly legal war between a $6-million Chatham lottery winner and his ex-girlfriend, saying it doesn’t care who gets the cash.

Denise Robertson is suing her former live-in boyfriend, Maurice Thibeault, for half the $6.1 million he won with a Sept. 20, 2017 Lotto 6/49 draw.

This is a classic she said, he said dispute,’” Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. lawyer James Doris said Monday in a Windsor court.

It’s clear the real fight here is between Ms Robertson and Mr. Thibeault.”

Robertson claims she has a right to half the winnings because she and Thibeault bought lottery tickets as a couple and had a longstanding agreement to share any winnings. Thibeault denies there was such an agreement.

Robertson claims Thibeault told her their ticket was not a winner. She alleges she returned home from work five days later to learn he had moved all his things out. Robertson is suing him for $3 million.

OLG paid Thibeault $3.07 million in January and withheld the disputed half. The agency wants the court to take control of it until the legal battle is over. If that happens, the money would be held by the Ministry of Finance.

OLG takes no position on who should get the money as long as it is released from liability,” said Doris.

Thibeault’s lawyer, Richard Pollock, said OLG should give the money to his client, then Robertson can sue him for damages based on the alleged agreement to split lottery winnings.

Pollock said Robertson has no right to claim the money from OLG, or have a say in what it does with the winnings, because she didn’t co-operate with the corporation’s investigation into the dispute.

This was a mandatory investigation requiring the co-operation of the claimants, he said.

Mr. Thibeault has satisfied his obligation to submit to an investigation,” said Pollock. “Ms Robertson has not.”

He said Robertson would only submit to an interview with OLG investigators if her lawyer was present.

You’ve got a party that says, ‘I’m here to co-operate, but here are the terms,’” said Pollock.

Is that real co-operation?”

Robertson’s lawyer, Steven Pickard, said his client did not refuse to participate. She just wanted a lawyer there, he said, and OLG would not accept that.

Pickard said it would be “improper” to make Robertson submit to an interview without her lawyer present, because it could be used as evidence in a pending civil trial. He said the dispute should just go to trial “as quickly as possible.”

And in the meantime, those funds should not be distributed to Mr. Thibeault,” said Pickard.

He said it would be inappropriate to give either person the money until the dispute is settled. Until then, said Pickard, his client isn’t concerned about who holds the money.

We don’t care,” said Pickard. “This is not the issue here. The issue is preservation of $3 million.”

Superior Court Justice Gregory Verbeem didn’t say Monday when he will make a decision on the OLG’s request.

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Rival CP Rail improved its wheat shipment numbers, despite extreme cold

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Despite high crop yields in Western Canada, Canadian National Railway Co. shipped 24 million metric tonnes of grain in the 2017-18 crop year, four per cent less than the previous year, due in part to a frigid Prairie winter.

Rival Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd., meanwhile, nudged up its numbers one per cent year over year, shipping nearly 26 million metric tonnes of grain, grain products and soybeans out of the Prairies for the crop year that came to a close at the end of July.

For the coming year, Calgary-based CP Rail forecasts the total crop to move at more than 83 million metric tonnes, five per cent above the five-year average.

CP Rail and the Montreal-based CN are outfitting their fleets with thousands of larger freight cars and track upgrades over the next four years.

The improvements come amid legislation that imposes financial penalties on railways that fail to deliver promised rail cars for grain shipments on time.

The extremely low temperatures in Western Canada last winter meant trains could take on fewer cars and carry less grain, a necessity related to locomotive air-brake systems.

Companies in the story: (TSX:CNR, TSX:CP)

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Canadian Banks to Post Profit Gains on Rising Interest Rates

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