West Virginia Record

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

DuPont partially granted summary judgment in C-8 contamination lawsuit

By Kyla Asbury | Jul 9, 2015


PARKERSBURG - DuPont was granted partial summary judgment in a 2013 lawsuit against it involving C-8 contamination.

While it was granted partial summary judgment, DuPont still was denied summary judgment as it related to the conscious pain and suffering claims by two individuals; as it related to the battery claims of eight individuals; and as it related to conspiracy claims by three individuals.

"Our main takeaway here is that, once again, DuPont has attempted to escape its obligations to mid-Ohio Valley residents harmed by C-8," said Jeff Dugas, with Action Network, a nonprofit organization that helped area residents develop Keep Your Promises. "Luckily, Chief Judge Sargus denied that motion, which raises new questions about DuPont disclosure of liabilities -- which, as we noted in our June 9th briefing, are already grossly understated. "

Dugas said that in light of this decision, stakeholders should take another, close look at those disclosures.

In the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Chief Judge Edmund A Sargus Jr. denied a motion by DuPont that was intended to severely reduce the company's obligations to compensate victims of C-8 contamination, according to the July 6 filing.

DuPont's motion sought to allow the company to backtrack on its promise to honor the findings of the C-8 Science Panel, which identified a probable link between C-8 and six diseases, which include kidney cancer, testicular cancer, thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, high cholesterol and pregnancy-induced high blood pressure.

Sargus granted DuPont's motion for partial summary judgment as it related to strict product liability brought by six individuals; as it related to consumer protection claims brought by five individuals; as it related to six individuals' conspiracy claims; as it related to the trespass to person claims made by seven individuals; as it relates to the ultrahazardous/abnormally dangerous activities claims by four individuals; and as it related to negligence per se claims and/or prima facie negligence claims made by seven individuals.

"It is shocking that DuPont continues to try to break its promises to mid-Ohio Valley communities," said Keep Your Promises advisor Joe Kiger in a press release. "DuPont is pouring resources into debating legal questions that were settled over a decade ago. Meanwhile, DuPont’s victims continue to suffer without compensation."

Sargus’s decision follows June's Keep Your Promises investor briefing, which highlighted the gross understatement of liabilities in Chemours' Form 10 submission to the SEC, the press release stated.

This decision, which maintains DuPont’s responsibility for significant C-8-related liabilities, raises new questions about the company’s Form 10 disclosure.

"Given Judge Sargus’s decision this week, DuPont had better estimate the C-8 liabilities again, because their liabilities are now more likely to be greater than what they anticipated," Kiger said. "Investors and regulators should take a second look at the company’s disclosures in light of Monday’s decision."

DuPont has not responded to a request for comment.

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