Victory for all victims of pesticides
The Court of Appeal in Lyon has ruled to hold Monsanto legally accountable for severely harming the health of Paul François, a grain farmer from France’s Charente region. This historic win sets a legal precedent in France and is a victory for all victims of pesticides.
Paul François has been seeking recognition for his suffering for over a decade, after inhaling vapours of the Monsanto herbicide Lasso in 2004. Having subsequently suffered from repeated comas, fainting, neurological disorders, and hospitalisation for months at a time, he first filed a legal complaint and demand for compensation against the firm in 2007.
Today’s trial was the fourth episode in the farmer’s long quest for justice. Monsanto was initially found guilty of intoxicating Paul François in 2012 and again on appeal in 2015. Then Monsanto appealed again. The French Supreme Court, in charge of this appeal, overturned the latter judgment by challenging its legal foundation and referred the case back to the Court of Appeal of Lyon. Today the Court of Appeal of Lyon ruled in favour of Paul François, holding Monsanto legally responsible for his hardships.
“Today’s judgement is a major milestone in the recognition of the suffering of victims of pesticides,” commented Génon K. Jensen, Executive Director of the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL). “We will remain to stand strong alongside Paul François and all workers and farmers and their families suffering from exposure to pesticides.”
General awareness, concern and research on the negative health effects of pesticides has significantly increased over the past few years, but there is still a need for health professionals and institutions to recognise their medical impacts. This will help pesticide victims to seek access to justice and compensation, and to receive informed and adequate medical care from their doctors.