A court of appeal in Lyon, France found this Thursday that sprays manufacturer Monsanto (now part of the Bayer group) was responsible for the illness of a farmer who inhaled fumes from the Lasso herbicide.
The incident took place in 2004, when tillage farmer Paul François fell ill after opening a container used to handle the weedkiller. He has remained in poor health ever since.
According to French media reports, the court upheld the farmer's claim that product labelling failed to warn him against this risk. Monsanto's lawyers argued that he knew the product was dangerous and may lodge a further appeal.
The judges referred a decision on compensation to another court. Mr François is seeking over €1m in damages.
The lobby group Phyto-Victimes founded by the farmer to represent people suffering from pesticide contamination has accused Monsanto of using delaying tactics before the three successive courts that heard the case since 2007.
Medical investigations identified chlorobenzene, a solvent used in the weedkiller, as the source of the farmers's poisoning.
Lasso is no longer available to European farmers.