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Strong support for Paul Francois facing Monsanto

About 50 people joined Paul Francois, President of Phyto-Victimes (HEAL member), in front of the Court of Appeal in Lyon immediately before a second hearing on 28 May. Monsanto appealed a 2012 court decision to compensate Paul Francois for health damage from pesticide intoxication.

French cereal farmer Paul Francois who has faced recurrent comas following pesticide intoxication, has been in legal proceedings against Monsanto for eight years now. In 2012, the District Court of Lyon judged that the company is responsible for the injury caused to Paul Francois, and ordered Monsanto to fully indemnify him for his loss. However, Monsanto appealed this verdict, and the lawsuit is now with the Lyon Court of Appeal.

Jean-Marie Desdions, co-founder of Phyto-Victimes addressed the crowd of supporters on behalf of occupational victims of pesticides recalling the courage to Paul Francis as others simultaneously deal with their health problems and legal struggles. Supporters included representatives from Générations Futures, Alerte des Médecins sur les Pesticides and Allassac ONGF.

During this recent second court hearing, after an initial statement to the court, Monsanto lawyers were quick to question the validity of the toxicological reports and even questioned whether the accident actually took place. Phyto-victims’ lawyer, Mr. Lafforgue meanwhile defended his client highlighting recognised and proven evidence from serious scientific and medical expertise as he had done in the previous court case. After more than three hours of proceedings, the court announced that it would deliberate on 10 September 2015.

More information available in this press release (FR)

Last year during Pesticide Action Week 2014, HEAL organised a film screening of ‘Death is in the Meadows’ in the European Parliament to call for EU action to protect health against hazardous pesticides. The screening was organised with HEAL members Phyto Victims, Générations Futures, Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN), and hosted by MEP Hiltrud Breyer.

Earlier in June, Paul Francois participated in the Commission’s conference on EDCs, and made a compelling intervention on protecting farmer’s health from EDC pesticides.

Originally posted on 9 June 2015

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