On July 6, after a month of witness testimony and evidence examinations in the Columbus, Ohio Courtroom of Judge Sargus, arguments concluded in the second C8 MDL bellwether trial against DuPont, David Freeman v. E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company.
During the closing arguments, Mr. Freeman’s lawyers asked jurors to award Mr. Freeman $5 million in compensatory damages based on claims that DuPont negligently caused Mr. Freeman’s testicular cancer through C8 water contamination from its Washington Works plant.
Mr. Freeman’s lawyer’s focused on the term “conscious disregard” by arguing that DuPont implemented a “cover up” of C8 handling and its effects in order to avoid being responsible for liabilities. “I don’t think you’ll have a problem finding negligence,” Mr. Freeman’s attorney told jurors on Tuesday, saying that the case is “really about DuPont’s conscious disregard.”
Plaintiff’s counsel then focused on Mr. Freeman, himself – framing him as a community member in terms of his exposure and specific probability of harm, and as a man who experienced both physical and emotional anguish because of DuPont’s negligence and conscious disregard.
DuPont argued that during the time frame in question they were unaware that C8 was likely to cause harm to humans. The jury did not agree with DuPont.
In less than a day of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict finding DuPont was liable for its negligence and awarded Mr. Freeman $5.1 Million in compensatory damages.
After finding a verdict on compensatory damages in Mr. Freeman’s favor, the jurors then agreed with Plaintiff’s counsel and found that DuPont demonstrated a “conscious disregard for the right and safety of other persons that has a great probability of causing harm.” This finding of “conscious disregard” triggers the second phase of the case and the jury will now hear evidence to support an additional award of punitive damages.
The additional punitive damages verdict is expected to come down from the jury in the next several days.