Toward the end of last year, a jury in Ohio reached a verdict in a case involving a man who had developed testicular cancer after drinking water that was contaminated by a DuPont plant nearby. According to an industry news source, the plaintiff lives near the Ohio-West Virginia border in Washington County, where it became apparent several years ago back that the DuPont facility was leaking perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as PFOA or C-8, into the area’s drinking water supply.
After a jury trial, the plaintiff was awarded $2 million for his injuries. Additionally, the report indicates that the jury found “actual malice,” meaning that punitive damages may also be awarded if the jury decides they are appropriate. The punitive damages phase of the trial is slated to move forward later this year. If the plaintiff is successful in obtaining punitive damages against DuPont, it is likely that his award would increase substantially.
This case is the third of its kind holding DuPont responsible for contaminated water in Washington County, Ohio. The other two cases, decided in 2015 and 2016, resulted in $1.6 million and $5.6 million, respectively. The $5.6 million award contained $500,000 in punitive damages. There are 39 more similar cases pending in the Ohio court system.
A Company’s Responsibility to the Environment and Community Members
Pollution is an inescapable fact of life in our industrialized society. However, strict state and federal regulations govern the type and quantity of pollution that is tolerable in the community. Sometimes, a company will inadvertently pollute more than its allotted amount, and when this occurs, liability may be appropriate if community members can show that they suffered harm as a result.
In cases that involve a cover-up, or the destruction or alteration of documents or evidence, punitive damages may be appropriate, depending on the jurisdiction. Unlike compensatory damages that are designed to make the plaintiff whole again, punitive damages are awarded to punish the defendant and to deter future wrongful conduct.
These cases, however, can be exceedingly complex, due to the difficulty of proving the defendant’s conduct caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Often, one or more medical or scientific experts will be necessary to explain how exposure to certain chemicals can result in various illnesses or diagnoses. Anyone who believes they may have suffered an injury or illness due to environmental exposure to a dangerous substance should seek out a dedicated Washington, D.C. personal injury attorney to discuss their case.
Have You Been Exposed to Dangerous Chemicals?
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a serious illness that you believe was caused by environmental contamination or the contamination of a food product, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. As mentioned above, these cases can be very complex and should be handled by attorneys experienced in this specific area of the law. The skilled injury attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers are dedicated to representing their clients to their fullest ability. With decades of service in the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. area, Lebowitz & Mzhen attorneys are a great ally for any accident victim. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation.
More Blog Posts:
The Summary Judgment Standard in Washington, D.C. Personal Injury Cases, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, December 16, 2016
Premises Liability Case Arising Out of New Year’s Eve Apartment Complex Shooting Dismissed, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, January 3, 2017