Third jury returns verdict against DuPont in teflon case

A federal jury  returned a $2-million verdict against DuPont in a C-8 contamination case, awarding damages to Kenneth Robert Vigneron. Vigneron claimed to have contracted testicular cancer from exposure from C-8 in the Belpre and Little Hocking water supplies.

Vigneron is seen to be a bellwether case among the 3,500 lawsuits in the C-8 class against DuPont. In other bellwether cases that had gone to trial verdicts had been delivered against the company.

The Washington Works of DuPont  Washington had once used C-8 to make Teflon. The substance had been found to be probably linked to kidney cancer, testicular cancer, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, pregnancy induced hypertension including preeclampsia and hypercholesterolemia in humans, by a science panel set up under a settlement with the company.

According to Harry Deitzler, an attorney representing the plaintiff in the class action settlement with DuPont 11 years ago, the company's conduct was malicious, which allowed the jury to consider punitive damages in addition to the compensation verdict. The jury would deliberate punitive damages on 4 January.

''DuPont's conduct was egregious, dumping the chemical into community water sources with full knowledge that it would likely cause cancer and other diseases among the residents,'' said Deitzler, an attorney with Hill, Peterson, Carper, Bee & Deitzler in Charleston.

Around 3,500 cases regarding the C-8 chemical are pending in the US District Court for Southern Ohio.

According to commentators, the central question for jurors was whether DuPont  dumped this compound into the Ohio River knowing the risks. The jury yesterday said DuPont did, in fact, contaminate the region's water supplies and that it should have informed the locals.

''Additional trials are expected, and they will be defended on an individual basis under the facts and circumstances of each case,'' said Cynthia Salitsky, Chemours Spokesperson. Chemours Co was spun out of DuPont and is free of all those liabilities that DuPont might suffer stemming from all these cases.

Earlier in July this year, a jury ordered DuPont to pay $5.1 million to a man who said he developed testicular cancer from exposure to C-8 (See: Not Teflon coated: DuPont ordered to pay $5.1 mn damages).