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San Francisco 203 articles

School groundskeeper accepts reduced $78 million Roundup award

Dewayne “Lee” Johnson wanted to send a message to Monsanto that it was wrong. This summer, he took the company to court alleging Monsanto’s Roundup and Ranger Pro weed killers contained a toxic ingredient that contributed to his terminal cancer diagnosis. He claimed Monsanto knew of the risks but failed to warn the public. As a school groundskeeper, Johnson was accidentally drenched in the chemicals twice. When he called the company to ask if he should be concerned for his health, they promised to get back to him but never did. When he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, he took ... Read More

U.S. Intervenes in Three Whistleblower Cases Against Navy Contractor

U.S. authorities have intervened in three whistleblower cases filed against Tetra Tech EC Inc. alleging that the engineering and consulting firm submitted false claims to the U.S. government in connection with its role in testing for radiation at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco. According to the U.S. Justice Department, the U.S. Navy awarded contracts to Tetra Tech to test parcels of land at the shipyard for radiation and to remediate any areas where the company found the radiation levels to be excessive. The three whistleblower lawsuits alleged that Tetra Tech misrepresented the source of soil samples it submitted ... Read More

Workplace Sexual Harassment Triggers Google Employees’ Protest

On Thursday, Google employees from around the world walked off the job briefly to protest the company’s alleged mishandling of sexual misconduct claims against some of its executives. The walkout was the latest protest by employees expressing frustration over the treatment of women in the workplace, specifically sexual harassment, and efforts to cover up rather than address bad behavior. Approximately 1,000 Google workers protested in San Francisco and thousands more showed up at Google’s Mountain View, California, headquarters, according to the Associated Press. Protests were also held in Tokyo, Singapore, London, New York and Seattle as engineers and other workers ... Read More

Judge Upholds Landmark Monsanto Verdict But Slashes Plaintiff’s Award

A California judge pared down a $289 million judgment against Bayer’s Monsanto in a landmark case brought by a terminally ill man allegedly sickened by Roundup herbicide, but upheld the jury’s findings that the agrochemical giant acted with malice. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Ramos Bolanos said that the $250 million in punitive damages the jury ordered Monsanto to pay plaintiff Dewayne Johnson must be brought in line with the $39.25 million in compensatory damages the jurors thought was suitable. The judge’s 11-page ruling, released Oct. 22, stated that “regardless of the level of reprehensibility of Monsanto’s conduct, the ... Read More

FDA Seeks Proof that Vape Companies Aren’t Snubbing U.S. Regulations

Federal authorities have expanded a government investigation of the vape industry while threatening to pull dozens of new vaping products off the market if they are found to be noncompliant with U.S. regulations. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it sent letters on Oct. 12 to 21 vape companies, including the vape units of Big Tobacco companies British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands, and Japan Tobacco as part of a probe to determine whether they are illegally marketing some 40 new products. Earlier this month, FDA authorities paid a surprise visit to the San Francisco offices of Juul, the world’s ... Read More

Monsanto Trial Jurors Petition Judge To Preserve $289 Million Jury Verdict

Monsanto has asked San Francisco Superior Court judge Suzanne Bolanos to overturn a $289 million jury verdict awarded to a California man who claims glyphosate herbicides caused his terminal cancer, prompting some of the jurors to petition the court to preserve the verdict. In seeking to reverse the verdict, Monsanto argues lawyers for plaintiff Dewayne Johnson used “legal theatrics” to emotionally manipulate the jury with inflammatory remarks and influence its decision. Judge Bolanos issued a tentative written ruling Oct. 10 indicating that she would overturn the $250 million in punitive damages the jurors awarded Mr. Johnson and reduce the $33 ... Read More

Monsanto Papers reveal company’s knowledge of Roundup cancer risk

Millions of internal documents from Monsanto – known as the Monsanto Papers – were released as part of lawsuits against the company involving claims that the active ingredient glyphosate in its herbicide Roundup causes cancer, specifically non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and that the company knew of the risks but failed to warn consumers, including those regularly exposed to the product while working as groundskeepers, landscapers, and horticulturalists. Monsanto has repeatedly said that its weed killers are safe, despite the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2015 classifying glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Here is what the ... Read More

FDA Seizes Documents from JUUL Offices

Federal authorities seized more than 1,000 pages of documents from the San Francisco offices of JUUL Labs, maker of the top-selling vaping device, during a “surprise inspection” Tuesday, Oct. 2. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) unannounced call on JUUL is part of a broader clampdown by the federal government to beat back the alarming increase of nicotine addiction among children and teens. According to data collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1.7 million high school students and 390,000 middle school students currently vape using products such as JUUL. One study published ... Read More

Fatigued Air Canada Pilot Awake 19 Hours Before SFO Near-Miss

An Air Canada pilot had been awake for more than 19 consecutive hours when he nearly landed his airplane on a crowded taxiway at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in July 2017, U.S. investigators said. In its synopsis of a longer report it plans to release in the coming weeks, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) highlighted a number of errors that pilots of the Air Canada Flight 759 made during the flight. Investigators indicated that fatigue likely played a role in the mistakes. The Air Canada flight arrived at SFO from Toronto on July 27, 2017. The plane, carrying ... Read More

San Francisco’s Transbay Transit Center Closes Amid Safety Concerns

Two steel support beams in San Francisco’s Transbay Transit Center are cracking, prompting city officials to close parts of downtown to traffic and raising concerns that the flashy and expansive new transit hub could be unsafe. Building inspectors noticed the first crack last Tuesday morning in a steel parallel beam that crosses Fremont Street below. They later discovered the second, larger fissure in a 60-foot steel support bean that supports both the Transbay Transit Center’s rooftop park and the bus deck below, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The crack inspectors discovered Wednesday measures about two and a half feet ... Read More