BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A Columbus, Ohio, jury has found DuPont responsible for cancer caused by PFOA (also known as C-8), awarding $50 million to a man and his wife after the man suffered two bouts of testicular cancer that he claimed were caused by water contaminated from the company’s decades of dumping these “forever chemicals” into the surrounding communities.
Travis Abbott and his wife, Julie, of Pomeroy, Ohio, sought justice and compensation for damages after he lost both his testicles to cancer. Mr. Abbott’s cancer also metastasized, resulting in multiple invasive surgeries.
Attorneys Jon C. Conlin, F. Jerome Tapley, Nina Towle Herring, Mitchell Theodore, Beth Chambers, and Brett Thompson represented the plaintiffs and secured a unanimous $50 million verdict on behalf of the Abbott family.
“This was the largest verdict yet for these C-8 contamination cases,” said Jon Conlin, principal attorney at Cory Watson, a firm representing hundreds of people who were poisoned along the Ohio River.
“The Abbotts can never have true justice, but the jury told DuPont that it could no longer escape responsibility for its decades of dumping C-8 — at least for these two victims,” Conlin said.
The jury deadlocked for a second couple, Angie Swartz, who was diagnosed with kidney cancer, and her husband, Teddy, of Gallipolis, Ohio. The Swartz case was the top selected defense choice to bring to trial, and yet DuPont failed to convince the jury the company should prevail on even that claim.
“While we are all disappointed that the jury deadlocked in the Swartz case, we are very thankful that they saw through all of DuPont’s excuses and held the company liable for the significant harm it caused the Abbott family,” said Jerome Tapley, principal attorney at Cory Watson.
Because there was a hung jury in the Swartz case, the couple has the right to a new trial.
“Having now seen DuPont’s often misleading trial tactics, we are confident that the re-trial will result in a plaintiffs’ verdict for the Swartz family,” Tapley said.
While DuPont has been forced to admit the link between C-8 and certain health problems in these most recent lawsuits, it has largely continued – as it has before – to try to dodge responsibility for the harm caused to individual plaintiffs.
“This verdict told DuPont it should get used to ever-increasing litigation costs and jury awards as long as it refuses to step-up and fairly compensate all the men and women it poisoned,” Conlin said.
According to court records, DuPont improperly dumped C-8 into the air, drinking water, soil, and Ohio River for years from its Washington Works plant just outside Parkersburg, West Virginia. The dumping of this cancer-causing chemical ultimately resulted in a 2004 class action settlement that established special legal rights for approximately 80,000 affected people in six water districts next to, and downstream from, DuPont’s plant.
C-8 (or PFOA) is in the family of PFAS chemicals that have been recently discovered at dangerous levels in communities across the country. These man-made chemicals are known for building up in the bodies of exposed people and persisting in the environment for up to a million years, giving them the label “forever chemicals.” The drinking water in the Mid-Ohio valley was contaminated with PFOA starting in the 1960’s while DuPont used it to make Teflon, as dramatized in the 2019 film Dark Waters and 2018 Netflix documentary, The Devil We Know.
“Our firm is willing to fight for our clients until the very end,” said Conlin. “We look forward to bringing the Swartz case to a verdict, along with all the other new cancer cases arising from DuPont‘s decades of negligence and conscious disregard for the safety of those living and working around its plant.”
The verdict was announced on March 2, 2020.
The case is Swartz, et al. v. E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., S.D. Ohio, Case No. 2:18-cv-136, and Abbott v. E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., S.D. Ohio, Case No. 2:17-cv-998.
About Cory Watson Attorneys
Cory Watson Attorneys is a nationally recognized personal injury and environmental tort law firm with offices in Birmingham, Alabama; Memphis, and Nashville, Tennessee. The firm has recovered more than 3 Billion for clients across the country. Cory Watson attorneys are frequently at the forefront of major class actions and multidistrict litigations involving dangerous pharmaceuticals and product liability, and are often appointed to leadership positions in national cases. Firm practice areas include Personal Injury, Product Liability, Class Action, Asbestos, Business & Commercial Litigation, Dangerous Pharmaceuticals, Defective Medical Devices, and Environmental/Toxic Torts.
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