French farmer poisoned by Monsanto herbicide wins 'paltry' compensation

© Reuters/Emmanuel Foudrot

After 15 years of legal proceedings, French farmer Paul François, who was accidentally poisoned by a Monsanto herbicide in 2004, will receive compensation - but much less than he had asked for.

François was awarded 11,135 euros by the court in Lyon, which confirmed previous rulings that Monsanto was responsible for poisoning the farmer.

In 2004, on his farm in the Charente region in western France, François accidentally inhaled vapours of the herbicide Lasso, made by Monsanto, which was acquired by the German pharmaceutical company Bayer in 2018.

After suffering several illnesses and even a near-death experience, François decided to take legal action in 2007.

An appeals court in 2020 confirmed a first conviction of Monsanto. The company then appealed to the Lyon court for a final ruling, which was issued Tuesday.

While François welcomed the conviction of an industrial giant "in a case brought by a farmer", he regrets the "paltry amount" of the compensation.

He and his lawyers had estimated damages of one million euros.

"11,135 euros for 15 years of life put between brackets, of sleepless nights, I would perhaps have done better to use this time to play the lottery," he told French public radio.

"This is a strong signal from our justice system in France: We don't touch these multinationals."

However, the court pointed out shortcomings in information provided to users that the product could be toxic.

Read more on RFI English

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