COLUMBUS, Ohio — A federal judge on Thursday ruled against a motion by DuPont and said punitive damages were possible for an Ohio woman who says she got kidney cancer after drinking water contaminated by a chemical discharged from a company plant.
The case being heard in federal court in Columbus might help settle thousands of similar lawsuits about the chemical giant’s dumping of C8 into local drinking water.
The case continued after U.S. District Judge Edmund Sargus Jr. said Thursday that a “reasonable jury” could have enough evidence to find in favor of punitive damages for plaintiff Clara Bartlett, The Columbus Dispatch reported. DuPont had contended the evidence doesn’t support the awarding of punitive damages. Sargus previously refused DuPont’s request to dismiss the case.
Bartlett alleges the Delaware-based company knew there were potential risks posed by C8 deposited into the Ohio River for decades by its plant near Parkersburg, West Virginia, but didn’t share that information with the public.
DuPont’s chief scientist, Robert W. Rickard, testified Thursday that he met regularly with scientists and officials to track potential problems with C8 but didn’t know until 2012 that the chemical could cause several diseases. Rickard said that he was the DuPont employee most knowledgeable about C8, which is used in making Teflon.
Closing arguments in the case are expected Tuesday.
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