Global Processing

DuPont files appeal of $400M case in W.Va.

June 25, 2008
According to the Associated Press, DuPont said recently it has filed an appeal of a verdict that awarded nearly $400 million to people who live near a former zinc-smelting plant in West Virginia.

The Wilmington, Del., company contends the Harrison County trial last fall was unfair due to numerous errors by Harrison County Circuit Judge Thomas Bedell.

The trial jury decided last October that DuPont engaged in wanton, willful and reckless conduct in its operation of the smelter in the small town of Spelter.

Florida attorney Mike Papantonio, who represents the plaintiffs, said the appeal was another expected delaying tactic by DuPont.

Awards from various phases of the trial total nearly $400 million.

Among other things, DuPont was ordered to pay $196.2 million in punitive damages to residents who claimed the company downplayed and lied about health threats from arsenic, cadmium and lead in the air, water and soil for decades.

Bedell ordered DuPont to fund a $130 million medical monitoring program that will look for diseases such as skin, liver, bladder and lung cancers over a 40-year period. The plan will be reviewed every five years.

DuPont, which already has asked the Supreme Court to overturn that order, argues that the residents don''t face increased health risks.

The company further contended that it shouldn''t be punished for clean up efforts done under the supervision of the DEP and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.