A federal court jury in Ohio found that corporate giant DuPont’s dumping of chemicals into the Ohio River caused cancer in a man who lives near the river. The chemical, called ammonium perfluorooctanoate, is used in the manufacture of Dupont’s Teflon, Gore-Tex, and Stainmaster carpet products. Dupont denied that the chemicals caused cancer. However, the jury found that Dupont acted in reckless disregard of the safety of people living in the Ohio River Valley when it continued to dump chemicals into the river after receiving reports that the chemicals caused cancer. The jury awarded $5.1 million dollars to compensate the cancer victim.

The trial now moves into a phase in which the jury will consider whether to award punitive damages against DuPont. Punitive damages are amounts that can be awarded to punish a defendant and to make an example of a defendant in order to deter others from the same type of misconduct in the future. Punitive damages are one of the few and shrinking number of tools that injured people can use to attack corporate irresponsibility.

UPDATE: In the punitive damages phase of the trial, the jury awarded an additional $500,000 against DuPont based on its actual malice in continuing to dump chemicals into the Ohio River even after it had become aware of its cancer-causing properties.

People who have been injured or become sick due to corporate misconduct have a right to recover damages against negligent companies, including medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life. If the misconduct is serious, they may have a right to recover punitive damages. Likewise, family members have a right to recover damages when someone dies, and spouses can also have a right to recover damages for loss of consortium, care, comfort, and society.

Robert P. Schuster, P.C. has investigated explosions, fires, and other work place tragedies---and successfully held companies accountable---for decades. Recently---and as reported on this website---Bob Schuster achieved the largest personal injury settlement in North Dakota history for an explosion and fire at a gas processing plant outside Watford City. The worker was life-flighted to Regions Burn Center with third degree burns to his face, head, and other parts of his body. As reported in pleadings filed with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, the case settled for Twenty Million Dollars ($20,000,000.00). Bob Schuster is currently representing another worker who was burned in an explosion and fire at a wellsite operated by WPX south of New Town, North Dakota. The worker was life-flighted to Regions Burn Center with third degree burns to his face, head, arms, hands, and other parts of his body. The case will be tried in July of 2017.

Robert P. Schuster, P.C., has achieved unparalleled success in North Dakota, Wyoming, New Mexico, Illinois, and elsewhere by relying on basic, fundamental principles. Caring for and believing in our clients. Thorough investigation and preparation. Creative and strategic focus. Unrelenting hard work. If you or a family member has been injured in a serious oil and gas explosion or other workplace tragedy, the lawyers and staff at Robert P. Schuster, P.C., will be happy to answer your questions and assist you in any way we can. Please call us at 1.307.732.7800---or email Bob Schuster directly at bob@bobschuster.com.