CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A federal appeals court has upheld two decisions that threw out most of a lawsuit field against chemical giant DuPont Co. by Parkersburg residents over the pollution of their city's water with the toxic chemical C8.
A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals backed the rulings made in October 2008 and September 2009 by Chief U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin.
Goodwin had declined to allow the case to proceed as a class action and, in a second decision, dismissed claims of negligence, nuisance, trespassing and battery.
In a 17-page opinion, Judge Barbara Milano Keenan concluded that the presence of C8 in plaintiffs' blood -- and the potential risk to human health from that condition -- did not satisfy the "injury" requirement under West Virginia law.
"In such situations, a plaintiff also must produce evidence of a detrimental effect to the plaintiffs' health that actually has occurred or is reasonably certain due to a present harm," Keenan wrote.
Judges Paul V. Niemeyer and Allyson K. Duncan joined Keenan in the decision.
The decision also said that a West Virginia Supreme Court decision allowing cases for "medical monitoring" did not lower the standard of proof required in such toxic chemical lawsuits.