An Ohio federal jury awarded $10.5 million last month in punitive damages to Kenneth Vigneron, a cancer survivor who claimed DuPont’s chemical dumping caused his cancer. This award, which was in addition to the jury’s award of $2 million in compensatory damages and payment of Vigneron’s attorney’s fees, is the largest punitive award to date against DuPont in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
In his lawsuit, Vigneron alleged that DuPont withheld information from the public showing exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as PFOA or C-8, an ingredient in Teflon, could cause cancer in humans. Despite its knowledge, for decades DuPont dumped untreated PFOA into the air and water from its West Virginia factory located on the Ohio River. These PFOA-contaminated groundwater sources surrounding the factory allegedly caused a cancer cluster in several Ohio water districts – including the district from which Vigneron received his water.
The jury found that despite knowing the toxic and cancer-causing nature of PFOA, DuPont releasing that substance untreated into the air and Ohio River constituted malicious conduct deserving of a substantial punitive damage award.
The MDL involving DuPont’s PFOA dumping consists of approximately 3,500 individual cases. In addition to Vigneron’s victory, to date juries have awarded verdicts in favor of two MDL plaintiffs. Another 11 cases are set for trial in 2017. If you need more information, contact Chris Boutwell, a lawyer in our firm’s Toxic Torts Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Chris.Boutwell@beasleyallen.com.
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