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Victory for farmer Paul Francois in lawsuit against Monsanto

Great news for Paul Francois (right), a large scale French cereal farmer who has won an eight year legal battle against Monsanto, after he was intoxicated by the one of their products. The Court of Appeal of Lyon (France) delivered the positive verdict last week.

Paul Francois is the President of Phyto Victims, a HEAL member, who in 2004, suffered acute intoxication of the herbicide, Lasso, manufactured by Monsanto, causing him significant neurological disorders.

In 2005, following a refusal by the farmers insurance Mutualité Sociale Agricole (MSA) to recognise his health problems as an occupational disease, he began a legal procedure for recognition. The Bordeaux Court of Appeal later affirmed that Lasso was responsible for his health problems.

Parallel to this, in February 2007, Paul together with his lawyer decided to sue Monsanto. In February 2012, a court in Lyon found Monsanto liable. During the proceedings, the lawyer of Paul Francois argued that the company knew of health threats much earlier but did not issue any warnings. Monsanto appealed and created three additional years of proceedings.

The confirmation by the Court of Appeals is a great relief for Paul Francois and his relatives after an eight year long struggle. They hope that the decision will encourage others in the farming community to speak out on health impacts of pesticides, and will help increase awareness among governments regarding occupational diseases. Last but not least, the Court of Appeals has also underlines the responsibility of pesticide manufacturers.

Looking toward the future, Paul Francois plans to continue his advocacy and legal activities, especially through Phyto Victims. Already in March 2014 he led an EDC-Free photo action in from of the EU Commission’s Agricultural DG in Brussels

On the same day, a fully packed audience watched the first-ever screening of the documentary ‘Death is in the Meadows’ in the European Parliament, where Paul Francois was one of several victims of explained how pesticides have affected their lives.

Listen to Paul Francois talk share his concerns with the European Commissioner for Health and pesticide industry representatives during the June 1 EU Conference on Endocrine Disrupters.

Phyto Victims was created in 2011 with the support of HEAL, HEAL Member Générations future and other farmers with the aim to advise and support professional victims of pesticides in their administrative and legal proceedings related to the recognition of an occupational disease. Information available in French here

Originally posted on 17 September 2015

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