Lee Johnson, a 46-year-old cancer patient from Benicia, California, is first in line to go to trial against Monsanto, the Creve Coeur-based seed and chemical maker Johnson says is responsible for his cancer.
Johnson, a groundskeeper at a school district in the town east of San Francisco, was diagnosed with cancer in 2014. He blames exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide for causing it.
He’s not alone.
Monsanto faces thousands of plaintiffs in St. Louis, approximately 300 cases before a federal judge in San Francisco and dozens of lawsuits consolidated in Oakland.
They all center around whether Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, causes cancer. That has been hotly debated by researchers, lawyers and regulators for years, despite Monsanto insisting that the product, first introduced in 1974, is safe.
Johnson’s lawyers, who are involved in other lawsuits over the chemical, view his case as the “canary in the coal mine,” or an indicator of how the other trials might go.
Read more: Bloomberg