DuPont Sued Over Exposure to Chemical Used in Teflon

This month, nine residents from Ohio and West Virginia who were diagnosed with cancer and other diseases, have filed federal lawsuits against chemical giant, DuPont.  The lawsuits allege that the company knowingly contaminated drinking water supplies with a chemical used by one of its plants.

The lawsuits, filed within in the last couple of weeks, are among approximately 50 cases, including one alleging wrongful death. These suits were filed against DuPont since April, when a court-appointed science panel found probable links between exposure to perfluoro-octanoic acid (known as C8), and kidney cancer, testicular cancer and thyroid disease, among others.

Wilmington, Delaware-based DuPont used C8 at its plant near Parkersburg, West Virginia, on the Ohio border, but the company plans to stop making and using the chemical by 2015.

C8 is a key ingredient in Teflon, the coating used on cookware, clothing and other products.

The recent litigation is the latest in a year-long battle between DuPont and residents of the Mid-Ohio Valley area.

About 80,000 area residents filed a class-action lawsuit against the company in 2011. The suit resulted in a settlement in which DuPont agreed to pay as much as $343 million for residents’ medical testing, the removal of as much of the C8 from the area’s water supply as possible, and a year-long science panel’s study into whether C8 causes disease in humans.

In a written statement, DuPont spokesman Dan Turner pointed out the company’s efforts to pay for the medical study of C8 and fund a medical monitoring program for residents exposed to the chemical.

“Lawsuits such as these ignore family history, lifestyle choices and other causes of health issues and disease in specific individuals,” Turner said. “DuPont will vigorously defend against any and all such lawsuits not based upon valid science.”

The recent lawsuits in Ohio and West Virginia which seek unspecified damages, have been consolidated into once case, presided over by a federal judge in Columbus. The first trial in the matter is set for September 2015.

Many of the lawsuits are more than 50 pages long, accusing the company of negligence, concealment, fraud, deception, battery and the “negligent, intentional and reckless infliction of emotional distress and outrage.”

The lawsuits allege that as far back as 1961, DuPont’s own research had concluded that C8 was toxic and had conducted studies in the 1980s showing higher-than-normal birth defects among babies born to its female employees.

DuPont is accused of recklessly, maliciously and knowingly ignoring the risks and releasing C8 into the air and groundwater through its production practices, while telling the public and news media that C8 was safe.

“No reasonable person could be expected to endure the knowledge that an entity has knowingly and intentionally exposed them to years of harmful contact with a dangerous chemical, and has furthermore actively misrepresented and/or concealed such danger from them, while reaping hundreds of millions of dollars in profits as a direct and proximate result,” the lawsuit says.

One of the lawsuits was filed by Virginia Morrison of Parkersburg, West Virginia, accusing DuPont of causing the death of her husband in 2008 from injuries related to kidney cancer.

DuPont denied all the allegations in court filings, saying the plaintiff’s damages, if any, were caused by acts of God or actions of others,” over which DuPont had no control,” and were not reasonably foreseeable by the company.

What do you think a fair settlement would be considering that this huge company concealed for almost 50 years that the main chemical in their product was a potential danger to people?  As a result, many people were left with cancer and other diseases, even death.

Feel free to comment on this blog post. For more information, you can contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).

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