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03 August 2016

DuPont 'Acted With Malice,' Says Jury in Cancer Lawsuit

"In the latest lawsuit, held in early July 2016, the jury said that DuPont had "acted with malice." The jury awarded the plaintiff $5.1 million in compensatory damages and an additional $500,000 in punitive damages... Currently, about 3500 lawsuits against DuPont are pending, all citing an assortment of health problems — including cancer — that can be traced to drinking water laced with C8."

DuPont 'Acted With Malice,' Says Jury in Cancer Lawsuit

by Roxanne Nelson, BSN, RN, medscape.com, 2 August 2016

Cooking in a pot that doesn't stick, a magical spray that repels stains from fabric and carpeting, food containers that don't leak — sold under the brand names of Teflon, Stainmaster, Scotchgard, and SilverStone, just to name a few — these are all products that many Americans have grown up with and likely never give a second thought to.

But last month, the manufacturer of chemicals used in some of these products, DuPont, faced its third lawsuit for health damage allegedly resulting from the chemicals.

The culprit at hand is perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as PFOA or C8, which is the chemical used to manufacture Teflon and other products. The byproducts of C8 were dumped into the Ohio River near the DuPont plant at Parkersburg, West Virginia, contaminating the drinking water that served two districts in West Virginia and four in Ohio.

In the latest lawsuit, held in early July 2016, the jury said that DuPont had "acted with malice." The jury awarded the plaintiff $5.1 million in compensatory damages and an additional $500,000 in punitive damages. The plaintiff was David Freeman, a 56-year-old man from Washington County, Ohio, who developed testicular cancer that he blames on drinking the tainted water, and the jury apparently agreed.

DuPont has said that it will appeal this ruling.

But this case is merely the tip of the iceberg in what promises to be a very lengthy and protracted legal battle against DuPont.

Currently, about 3500 lawsuits against DuPont are pending, all citing an assortment of health problems — including cancer — that can be traced to drinking water laced with C8.

Mr Freeman's case was the third of six bellwether cases that are testing the legal waters, so to speak, but it struck a deep chord because of its additional award for punitive damages.

According to the attorneys for the plaintiffs, holding DuPont liable for actual malice might change the course of litigation for the remaining 3500 plus cases.

In a report at Law360.com, Stephen Schwarz of Faraci Lange LLP, who is helping to bring litigation against other companies over the same compound, said, "The concept that their actions were grossly negligent, reckless or wanton — depending on exactly what the language was there, in that court — could potentially be something that carries forward, so that the next jury doesn't have to decide that and they might be facing punitive damage awards in every case that goes to trial thereafter, without even a chance to convince the jury that they're not entitled to it."

Continue reading:
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/866933


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