A federal jury just concluded that DuPont Chemical will be forced to pay $10.5 million in damages to an Ohio truck driver.
The move comes after decades of the company’s reported contamination of rivers, animals, and land – often without any substantial legal or financial consequences.
The 56-year-old trucker, Keith Vigernon, reportedly developed cancer after coming in contact with water in the Ohio River Valley that was poisoned by the chemical giant with a known carcinogen.
“It’s important to punish, to end this corrupt corporate mentality,” said the plaintiff’s attorney, Gary Douglas, to the jury. “Without it, DuPont and other companies will continue to tread on us.”
Courts concluded that DuPont acted with malice for years by poisoning the river with a well-known cancer-causing agent.
To make matters worse, the company did not even inform local residents of its questionable activities.
Although Keith’s lawsuit is not the first of its kind directed at the corporation, it is one of the few that came out victorious.
Back in the 1990’s, property owner Wilbur Tennent showed his lawyer a video of green water being ejected from a large pipe and into a creek. According to Wilbur, the chemicals were causing his cows to bleed from their mouths and noses.
“This is what they expect a man’s cows to drink on his own property,” said Wilbur, “It’s about high time that someone in the state department of something-or-another got off their cans.”
Wilbur’s attorney, Bob Billot, filed a lawsuit in 1999 on his behalf but failed to win the case because DuPont’s lawyer had some questionable ties to the EPA. Instead of blaming the chemical giant for the obvious sickness in Wilbur’s cows, the courts concluded the issue was caused by poor animal husbandry.
Despite knowing that C8 (perfluorooctanoic acid) was a lethal cancer-causing agent for at least 20 years, DuPont continued to dump it into the public water supply until in 2014.
Keith’s $10.5 million victory against DuPont is a good sign that times may be changing, as there are another 3,500 pending cases against the company related to the Ohio River Valley area.