New lawsuits filed over C8
PARKERSBURG – Two lawsuits alleging bodily injury from intentional, malicious, knowing, reckless or negligent acts of DuPont over C8 emissions were filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
Attorney Harry Deitzler filed the suits Thursday on behalf of Roger Dale Martin and Joanna Lynn Lowers.
Deitzler said the filings were not related to those filed earlier this week. He said he and his law firm have been working on C8 lawsuits for 12 years and some suits filed recently have been built on the work his firm has done over the years.
Deitzler said his co-counsel will be Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
“We have worked with him before in the smelter case from Clarksburg,” Deitzler said. “He has been active throughout the country on issues that affect health and environmental issues.”
In the filing it states the action for compensatory and punitive damages, costs incurred and to be incurred by plaintiffs and any other damages the jury of court would deem appropriate for bodily injury in connection with emissions of C8.
In the filing it states that as early as 1954, concerns about the potential toxicity of C8 had been raised internally and by 1961 DuPont’s own researchers concluded C8 was toxic “and according to DuPont’s own toxicology section chief, should be ‘handled with extreme care.'”
According to the 52-page filing, internal studies showed data suggesting workers exposed to the chemical have a higher incidence of health problems than those who were not exposed to C8.
“In 1980 DuPont had confirmed internally that C8 ‘is toxic,’ ‘people accumulate C-8,’ and ‘continued exposure is not tolerable,'” the lawsuits state.
The suits state a 1984 meeting at DuPont headquarters was called to discuss findings the chemical was present in tap water in some Ohio and West Virginia water supplies.
“During the 1984 meeting, DuPont employees at the meeting noted that technologies existed to further control C8 emissions from its manufacturing sites and that potential replacement materials existed that could eliminate further C8 emission from its manufacturing operations,” the suits state.
“During the meeting the employees at the meeting noted that the issues of what to do on C8 ‘is one of corporate image, and corporate liability. Liability was further defined as the incremental liability from this point on if we do nothing as we are already liable for the past 32 years of operation,'” the suits state.
It states that during the meeting the employees noted the options to eliminate the chemical were not “economically attractive” and decided not only to keep using C8 but to increase its use at the plant.
“DuPont did not want to discuss its use of C8, despite its risks, because such action would have jeopardized approximately $100 million-$200 million in annual business at the time,” the suits state.
Deitzler said more lawsuits are pending.
“There are more suits pending that will detail the history and outrageous conduct of the corporation,” he said.
Deitzler said a community meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 13 in the auditorium of the Blennerhassett School to talk about the lawsuits. Kennedy will speak at the meeting.
DuPont spokeswoman Robin Ollis Stemple said in a statement DuPont would “vigorously defend against any and all such lawsuits not based upon valid science.”
“Lawsuits such as these ignore family history and lifestyle choices as a primary cause of health issues and disease in specific individuals,” she said.