The third case of some 3500 against the chemical company DuPont reached an initial verdict today. The case stems from the company’s widespread water contamination with a chemical known as C8.
The jury awarded the plaintiff Kenneth Robert Vigneron $2 million, so far. The Ohio man says he got testicular cancer because he was exposed to C8 through public water supplies in Belpre and Little Hocking - both towns are near the company’s Washington Works facility in West Virginia.
DuPont's lawyers argued that Vigneron’s lawyers didn’t prove C8 causes cancer, but the jury said the company’s conduct was malicious - meaning more damages may be awarded.
A Charleston lawyer, Harry Dietzler, who was among those to file the original class action lawsuit against DuPont in 2001 says he wasn’t surprised by the verdict. Vigneron is the latest plaintiff to have his case against DuPont considered by a jury in federal court. The previous two trials ended similarly with juries awarding millions to cancer-stricken residents.
“It’s the same set of facts,” Dietzler said, “that DuPont contaminated the drinking water, DuPont knew it contaminating the drinking water, and knew that the chemical would cause disease.”
Dietzler said another 40 cases are scheduled for trial through 2017.