The pot of earth won against the iron pot. The american firm Monsanto comes to wipe a new setback. The giant agrochemical controversial have been convicted, for the third time on Thursday by the Court of appeal of Lyon after a very long legal battle. Almost 15 years day for day after the intoxication caused by the inhalation of the herbicide Lasso, Paul François, a cereal charentais 55 years of age, can finally boast of having actually bend the multinational. Or almost.
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The firm has this time been ordered on the basis of "liability for defective products", announced the Court. The latter recognised a "lack of information on the label and the non-respect of the duty of vigilance" on the part of the manufacturer of the Lasso. "The technical knowledge, (Paul Francis), even if proved, could not overcome the lack of information on the product and its adverse effects, if a farmer is not a chemist," added the court.
The Court has not ruled on damages and interest, which will be the subject of a separate procedure in Lyon, but was sentenced Monsanto to pay 50,000 euros in legal fees to Paul Francis. A "victory in a half-hearted", so, for the association Phyto-victims, which deals since 2011, about 400 cases of persons who are claiming to be victims of pesticides.
For his part, Paul Francis has hailed the victory, saying that it is a "message to the current government" and calling on politicians to "take their responsibilities" concerning the use of pesticides. For the farmer this day is "historic". And indeed, the farmer comes back from far away. When, in April 2004, Paul François inhaled by mistake the fumes of the herbicide, subsequent comas to repeat, severe headache, loss of consciousness. After several months of hospitalization, Paul Francis is flirting with death. The farmer manages to prove the link, and to recognize his intoxication as an occupational disease.
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In 2007, the case takes a twist by the court: the Lasso becomes prohibited in France (it was already removed from the canadian market since 1985 and in Belgium and the United Kingdom since 1992, as is considered dangerous) and Paul Francis will begin the trial against Monsanto. First victory in 2012: the tribunal de grande instance of Lyon recognizes the responsibility of Monsanto, sentenced to fully compensate the farmer. Then, in 2015, the Lyon appeal Court confirms the judgment by a judgment, which will be quashed by the High court in July 2017 for questions of procedures.Playing for time
Clear Bournasseau, the association Phyto-victims, is not fooled: "Monsanto will use all remedies available to it, namely, ironing boards before the supreme Court, or even go to the european Court of Human rights". "Playing shows, using all remedies possible is a strategy consistently used by the firm Monsanto. Paul Francis asks, therefore, that this matter be dealt with as quickly as possible, so that it can be put an end to this procedure," one can read in the press release of the association.
"Even if the fight against Monsanto is far from being finished, the new decision gives a spotlight to our cause."
And indeed, Maître Jean-Daniel Bretzner, counsel for Monsanto, does not exclude this possibility. "We have two months to study the issue later", he says. For him, in any case, "the case is far from settled. The judgment of the Court of appeal has several errors, there are inaccuracies in its rendering. However, on the three faults initial, the Court rejected two". According to him, several elements of evidence are pretty low.
To Clear Bournasseau, "even if the fight against Monsanto is far from being finished, the new decision gives a spotlight to our cause and could raise awareness of the government". So far, the association joined the opinion of the counsel of Monsanto on one point: the case of Paul François is singular and the decision may not be extended to all persons claiming to be victims of pesticides. "In the case of Paul François, it is an accident spot, a particular situation, but nothing says that the current exposure to the Lasso leads to a poisoning. It may not be a domino effect," says Master Bretzner. For the lawyer, it is a "non-event".
For the association Phyto-victims, the recognition of the damage caused by pesticides is still far from being won. "On our 400 folders, there are still very few of which diseases are recognised as occupational," says Claire Bournasseau. Beyond the legal battle, the association advocates for the creation of a "victim compensation Fund". "The government majority has never supported this fund," says the member of the association. However, a government report on this subject should be out end of April, which could lead to a proposal for a law. This should be submitted in the autumn, on the occasion of the issue of the financing of social security. The association hopes of real progress at that time.
Publish Date : 12 Nisan 2019 Cuma 00:00
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