DuPont loses $5 Million Teflon Verdict

The cancer-causing C8“nonstick” Teflon DuPont unleashed on the world in the 1950s failed once again to protect the company from getting stuck with a large jury verdict.

After more than a month of testimony, jurors in an Ohio federal courtroom on July 6, 2016 ordered DuPont to pay a man $5.1 million for causing his cancer. Jurors ruled DuPont acted with malice in dumping C8 chemical-tainted water from its West Virginia plant into the Ohio River. That chemical found its way into people’s drinking water (of course) and, according to some 3,500 lawsuits, gave them cancer and/or other problems.

Update:  The jury added $500,000 in punitive damages on July 8.

Teflon Chemical Testicular Cancer

In the latest verdict, Marietta College professor David Freeman said his testicular cancer came from DuPont’s dumping C8 into the Ohio River. Mr. Freeman’s is the second such case to go to trial over DuPont’s C8 contamination. DuPont discharged the chemical into the air and water around its Washington Works facility near Parkersburg, West Virginia.

A jury in the first case to go to trial, in October 2015, returned a $1.6 million verdict for a woman who also claimed her cancer was caused by drinking water contaminated with C8. That jury awarded Carla Bartlett of Guysville, Ohio, $1.1 million in damages. The jury ruled DuPont negligent and awarded $500,000 for emotional distress, though it did not award punitive damages. That verdict is on appeal (of course).

A third case that had been set for a March trial was brought by a man who said C8 exposure caused his ulcerative colitis; he settled for what DuPont described in a U.S. SEC filing as “an inconsequential amount.”  (Inconsequential to whom?)

AP and other news sources said DuPont declined comment after the July 6, 2016 verdict. DuPont said it would not speak about the verdict until the punitives portion is complete.

Perfluorooctanoate Acid – C8 – Teflon Illnesses

C8 is perfluorooctanoate acid, or PFOA. A scientific panel created by an earlier settlement has linked C8 to certain illnesses. In West Virginia, DuPont has used C8 since the 1950s as a processing agent to make Teflon and other nonstick items, oil-resistant paper packaging, stain-resistant textiles. DuPont had earlier settled a large class-action case that left it liable for potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in medical monitoring costs, as well as liable for thousands of follow-up personal injury cases and C8-related toxic cleanups.

DuPont Makeover – Chemours

In July 2015, DuPont spun its Teflon section into a company it now calls Chemours, in an apparent effort to limit liability it faces from C8. Local residents and lawyers for them in Wood County are greatly skeptical about the DuPont makeover/spinoff.

DuPont loses $5 Million Teflon Verdict

Chemours spokesmodel Cynthia Salitsky saic, “Today’s verdict will be appealed. It is important to note that all six bellwether cases in the MDL have now been tried, resolved or otherwise addressed.

Attorneys for Freeman argued that DuPont knew for decades C8 was toxic, yet never revealed it was a likely human carcinogen despite hard  evidence that said it was.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection announced in 2002 that C8 was a “possible cancer risk to the public.”

DuPont paid $16.5 million as part of a federal settlement for a health study of residents whose drinking water was contaminated with C8.  Results released in 2012 showed there was a “probable link” between C8 and several types of cancer as well as other diseases.

 

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