An Ohio federal jury ordered chemical manufacturer DuPont and a spinoff company to pay $5.1 million in compensatory damages and half a million in punitive damages to a Plaintiff who alleges the companies’ unlawful dumping of carcinogenic waste into the Ohio River caused his cancer.
The $5.1-million award went to Plaintiff David Freeman, an Ohio College professor who has lived in the vicinity of DuPont’s Washington Works plant in Parkersburg, W. Va., for 23 years. Dr. Freeman claimed DuPont knowingly dumped ammonium perfluorooctanoate, also known as PFOA or C-8, a chemical compound used in the production of Teflon, Stainmaster, and Gore-Tex fabric, into the Ohio River, which forms the border of Ohio and West Virginia.
Ten years ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sued DuPont for contaminating the Ohio River with PFOA. The company agreed to pay $10.25 million to settle the case. Dr. Freeman alleges DuPont’s industrial waste has contaminated the drinking water and environment around its production plant, exposing him and countless others to cancer-causing toxins. A lawyer for Dr. Freeman told Bloomberg: “The jury saw that DuPont acted with pure conscious disregard and now DuPont knows they have to face this.”
The jury in the second phase of the trial added $500,000 in punitive damages to the $5.1 million compensatory damages verdict. DuPont dumped the chemical into the Ohio River and the air around its Parkersburg, W. Va., factory for decades, although it’s been almost completely phased out in U.S. manufacturing now.
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