Three state lawsuits filed over C8 exposure
PARKERSBURG -- DuPont Co. is facing a wrongful death lawsuit and two personal injury claims in West Virginia over exposure to a chemical used by one of its plants.
Charleston attorney Kathy Brown filed all three lawsuits on behalf of the plaintiffs in Wood County Circuit Court. She told The Parkersburg News and Sentinel that the cases are separate from an earlier class-action lawsuit that claimed water supplies in West Virginia and Ohio were contaminated with C8.
"This is so different that these personal injury claims were specifically separated and carved out from the class-action seven years ago,'' Brown said. "These lawsuits are for people who have one of those reported diseases and are seeking justice. My co-counsel and I are continuing to screen cases and talk to people throughout the area about their injuries and what remedies they may have.''
Virginia Morrison is the plaintiff in the wrongful death lawsuit, which claims her husband died in 2008 from kidney cancer-related injuries.
"We lived on DuPont Road for years,'' Morrison said. "Only this year did we find out that the water we were drinking may have made my husband sick.''
The other lawsuits claim injuries involving thyroid disease and ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease.
DuPont uses C8 at its Washington Works plant near Parkersburg. The company agreed under a 2005 settlement of the class-action case to phase out the use of C8, also known as perfluorooctanoic acid, by 2015.
The company also will pay for medical monitoring programs to help detect the onset of C8-linked diseases among residents.
"Recently, however, plaintiff attorneys began advertising for clients to now sue us for specific health issues in personal injury lawsuits,'' DuPont spokesman Dan Turner said in a statement. "Lawsuits have been filed, including three in Wood County. Lawsuits such as these ignore family history and lifestyle choices as a primary cause of health issues and disease in specific individuals. DuPont will vigorously defend against any and all such lawsuits not based upon valid science while providing good jobs with good wages and benefits in our local community.''
A science panel appointed by the court under the class-action settlement has established probable links between C8 exposure and thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, kidney cancer, testicular cancer, and pregnancy-induced hypertension so far. Its final findings are scheduled to be released at the end of October.