An Ohio jury has found DuPont liable for sickening a resident who developed testicular cancer after drinking water contaminated by the company’s dumping of toxins near his community’s water source. Jurors awarded Plaintiff Kenneth Vigneron $2 million in what is the first of approximately 40 upcoming trials. Vigneron is one of nearly 3,500 Plaintiffs whose lawsuits were filed by residents in Ohio and West Virginia and have been consolidated in the Southern District of Ohio.
The Plaintiffs accuse DuPont of sickening residents through decades of releasing perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as PFOA or C8, into both the air and the Ohio River at the Washington Works site. C8 was an integral chemical in the manufacture of nonstick cookware for decades but has since been phased out in the United States. The lawsuits allege that DuPont’s internal studies from decades ago acknowledge that C8 was hazardous to human health.
Six bellwether cases concluded earlier this year, with two of them resulting in jury verdicts of $1.6 million and $5.6 million, the latter of which included punitive damages. U.S. District Judge Edmund Sargus recently ordered DuPont to turn over documents related to a Dutch investigation over similar pollution allegations to the American multidistrict litigation (MDL) Plaintiffs to assist in subsequent trials.
Contaminants can also overload wastewater treatment systems that may not be equipped to treat certain levels of chemicals wrongfully dumped by another party. Such an incident occurred in Gadsden, Ala., where the Water Works and Sewer Board is striving to treat water that was allegedly contaminated with PFOAs and perfluorooctane sulfonates (PFOS) by upstream carpet and textile companies. Beasley Allen filed suit on behalf of the Board, claiming it should not be held responsible for the higher readings of these chemicals in order to comply with the EPA’s new lifetime health exposure guidelines.
In addition to representing wastewater treatment systems, we are investigating personal injury cases involving residents exposed to PFOA and PFOS who have been diagnosed with certain diseases. If you have any questions about these cases, contact Chris Boutwell or Ryan Kral, lawyers in our Toxic Torts Section, at 800.898.2034 or by email at Chris.Boutwell@BeasleyAllen.com or Ryan.Kral@BeasleyAllen.com.