Man Wins $289 million in lawsuit, will get roughly $20 million after taxes

BobTheBaker's picture
Rank: Human | 14,307

So Dewayne Johnson, who got cancer, alleged it was caused by Roundup and sued Monsanto. He won $289 million dollars as a result. Good for Dewayne..... but he gets to keep roughly one-tenth of that amount after taxes. Why? Because America is a Corporatocracy. The math is provided below:

ohnson was awarded $39 million in compensatory damages, and $250 million in punitive damages. The combined contingent fees and costs Mr. Johnson pays might total 50%. If so, he gets to keep half, or $19.5 million of the compensatory award. Since it is for his claimed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, that part should not be taxed. Of the $250 million punitive award, $125 million goes to legal fees and costs, and $125 million to Johnson. So before taxes, his take home is $144.5 million. What about after taxes? The $250 million in punitive damages are fully taxable, with no deduction for the fees to his lawyer. At 37%, Johnson would lose $92.5 million to the IRS. That makes his after-tax haul from a $289 million verdict only $52 million.

The state of California also would take a cut of Johnson's award. State taxes of as much as $30 million would leave leave him with $20 million or less. While still a substantial sum, that would amount to less than one-tenth of the original award.

Meanwhile, as outlined by Slate a plaintiff who won a smaller award could conceivably lose money after paying taxes and legal fees

Monsanto can deduct the full $289 million, as well as its lawyers' fees, from its tax bill.

full article: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/monsanto-lawsuit-verd...
Thoughts?

Comments (35)

Aug 17, 2018

guarantee this gets overturned and Monsanto doesn't end up paying near as much, if anything

    • 1
Aug 17, 2018

I can see the amount of his settlement being reduced, but that isn't really the point of my post.

Aug 17, 2018

yeah either way, quite mind blowing on how the math works

Aug 17, 2018

Full disclosure I'm not a lawyer (also not a Doctor), but I believe punitive damages are more a penalty for the person who actually caused the damage - like a we want to do more than let you off the hook with whatever the lifetime treatment of this patient is gonna cost - bc in reality the defendant could cut the $39MM check and keep doing what they're doing. The $250MM penalty (which will ultimately be reflected in Bayer's bottom line) is bad for them and the negative publicity arguably as damming. I don't really know what point I'm trying to make here, but punitive damages don't generally get forwarded to the victim in anywhere close to the full amount since they're not enacted to in this specific case to fund the lifetime cost of treatment for the person that was wronged.

    • 3
Aug 17, 2018

So the damn govt. should pocket the $? It's ridiculous. Possible negative awards... cmon.

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Aug 17, 2018

Oh I don't like it (or to be more accurate I don't like what very little I know about it) in the slightest. From an accounting standpoint I assume that the Govt picks up the taxes on the damages/award bc the company is able to deduct them from their own tax base (i.e. the Govt misses out on that corporate tax revenue).

Aug 17, 2018
dr_mantistoboggan_MD:

Full disclosure I'm not a lawyer (also not a Doctor)

lol

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Funniest
Aug 17, 2018

Republicans passed a law that made it harder for the average person to sue a corporation? Oh my. What a shocker.

What's next? They're going to lower taxes and increase the deficit?

    • 7
Aug 17, 2018

Considering the US Government values 1 human life at roughly 10 million USD (value of statistical life), and many private companies far, far less (some as low as $300k), this guy definitely got lucky with his cancer. Hell, he would've won out even if he died.

    • 1
    • 7
Aug 17, 2018

You are starting to sound like those unintelligible spam bots that every-so-often post complete garble at like 3am from India. Lay off the drugs.

  • ij29824DE
  •  Aug 18, 2018

He's not wrong. The man doesn't deserve $289mil, hell, not even $28.9 million. His lawyer was the one took all the responsibilities - it doesn't matter than the victim was Dewayne Johnson, it could even John Doe. Pay the guy enough to treat his cancer, buy a lambo (and a gold chain/Jordans, considering his culture), and sustain his future families (assuming they don't blow it all on gold chains and shoes, which is quite likely). 20 million is more than enough for that task. The rest of the money can go towards legislation and helping others prevent similar future occurences

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Aug 17, 2018

.

Aug 18, 2018

Tbf, Im almost positive that the law firm representing him was being paid on the contingent of a win. This is fairly typical for big law firms that specialize in these types of cases. If they lost, Dewayne wouldn't have had to pay a dime. The cancer sucks and he should be compensated, but he was essentially freerolling for a chance at multigenerational wealth.

Aug 18, 2018

Please tell me what this has to do with the government's ridiculous tax system that can cause possibly negative damages as the result of winning a law suit. Way too many ppl not discussing the topic of the post.

    • 1
Aug 18, 2018

Does the govt care how you make money? Guy won $250. If he represented himself he would have kept all of it. He didn't.

I hate taxes and government as much as any patriot, but you pay taxes on what you gross, not what you net when it comes to personal income.

The parasite needs to feed bro. Don't deny the cancer healthy cells. You should also be enraged as that income will be taxes multiple times as well.

Aug 18, 2018

Do you just enjoy arguing with me for no reason? I wasn't even being snarky in my initial response, but rather giving a perspective that should be included when discussing such a case.

Yes, the gov tax system can be ridiculous, and yes, negative damages are a thing, but you picked a poor case to try to discuss this topic. Dewayne Johnson would never ever ever have to pay anything (even post-tax) in this type of case, nor would the plaintiff in any other similar case. Most every law firm that specializes in these types of cases have a clause stating as much. I've taken classes taught by lawyers at top firms specializing in these exact type of cases. Slate is a rag and they're writing for laymen in order to get a sexy story/headline and get more eyeballs.

Just think about what would happen if BIG LAW ended up winning this type of case for little John Q. Public, and John Q. end up owing money after all is said and done? BIG LAW would almost certainly never get another client for a case like this and their entire practice would go down the shitter while clients moved to other law firms with better deal structures. Like I said before, Dewayne was free rolling and good for him.

    • 1
Aug 18, 2018

should have agreed on 50% to law firm post taxes, not pre (if thats ever a thing).

Aug 18, 2018

Tax policy is messed up in many places in this country but the issue here sounds like the 50% pre-tax fee to the lawyers. Lawyers getting half is not a legal requirement, right? I bet a new payment structure w/ attorneys comes out of this. If 50% is the industry standard at the moment you could argue that the ability to deduct this payment lead to it being inflated in the first place. Not sure of its history tho.

Aug 18, 2018

Conservatives:

"Taxation is theft!!!!!!!!"

Black man wins lawsuit against Monsanto

michigan10483:

He's not wrong. The man doesn't deserve $289mil, hell, not even $28.9 million. His lawyer was the one took all the responsibilities - it doesn't matter than the victim was Dewayne Johnson, it could even John Doe. Pay the guy enough to treat his cancer, buy a lambo (and a gold chain/Jordans, considering his culture), and sustain his future families (assuming they don't blow it all on gold chains and shoes, which is quite likely). 20 million is more than enough for that task. The rest of the money can go towards legislation and helping others prevent similar future occurences

    • 4
Oct 23, 2018

Compensatory and punitive damages serve different purposes... On one hand compensatory damages are to restore the loss/harm the victim has suffered, punitive damages are to punish bad companies in a way $30m would not

Oct 23, 2018
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Oct 23, 2018
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