COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A federal judge refused to dismiss one of two test cases that could potentially help settle thousands of similar lawsuits against chemical giant DuPont.
The complaint by an Ohio woman alleges the company knew the potentially dangerous risks posed by a chemical its plant near Parkersburg, West Virginia, had been depositing into the Ohio River, but declined to inform the public.
After attorneys for the woman said Thursday they had concluded their arguments, lawyers for Delaware-based DuPont unsuccessfully asked judge Edmund Sargus to dismiss the case, the Columbus Dispatch reported (http://bit.ly/1gU1YOz ).
Sargus agreed to read motions filed by DuPont that contend the evidence doesn't support the awarding of punitive damages.
Carla Bartlett says she developed kidney cancer in 1997 from drinking water contaminated by C8 discharged from DuPont's plant. DuPont's Washington Works plant near Parkersburg used C8 to make Teflon and other products.
More than 3,500 lawsuits allege DuPont's dumping of perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as C8, into local drinking water caused diseases including cancer.
Unlike in a class-action lawsuit, plaintiffs in the current litigation against DuPont require their own lawsuit because each case involves specific individual medical issues. The company denies the chemical caused Bartlett's cancer.
Bartlett testified Friday about the pain she says she suffered during surgery for the cancer.
"Because DuPont said it was safe," Bartlett responded when asked by DuPont attorney Stephnaie Niehaus why she continued to drink the allegedly tainted water.
A 1991 suggestion to study whether C8 targeted human organs was dismissed, a DuPont scientist said in a 2004 video deposition played in court Thursday.
"Do the study after we are sued," a team of researchers was told, according to epidemiologist Bill Fayerweather.
About 80,000 area residents filed a class-action lawsuit against the company in 2001. In a settlement, DuPont agreed to pay as much as $343 million for residents' medical tests, the removal of as much C8 from the area's water supply as possible and a science panel's examination into whether C8 causes disease in humans.
Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com