Closing arguments set in DuPont waste pile case

By Cara Bailey | Oct 18, 2007

CLARKSBURG - The closing arguments of a class-action lawsuit against DuPont are set after 10 plaintiffs testified in the fourth and final phase of the trial.

DuPont is being sued after residents of Harrison County claim a toxic waste pile is harming their health.

On Wednesday, Ken Ellison, director of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Land Restoration defended his agency's handling of the waste pile, saying he alone signed off on a cleanup plan that did not encompass homes nearby.

The plaintiffs who testified claim DuPont deliberately misled them about health risks from the pollution and delayed a site cleanup for as long as possible to maximize profits, the Associated Press reported.

DuPont claims it did the right thing when it demolished the factory buildings and capped the 112-acre site with plastic and fresh soil.

The plaintiffs won the first phase of the trial Oct. 1, when jurors found DuPont liable and negligent for creating the waste site. It was also found that the company created a public and private nuisance, and the pollution trespassed onto private property.

The jury also ordered DuPont to provide medical monitoring during the second phase of the trial. The company must provide the monitoring for 40 years for the people who were exposed to arsenic, cadmium and lead.

In the third phase of the trial, DuPont was ordered to pay more than $55 million to clean up the properties of nearby homeowners.

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