C8 trials pushed back to avoid holiday issues

By Kyla Asbury | Dec 14, 2015

PARKERSBURG – The next four trials in C8 litigation have been pushed back, so the second trial would not interfere with the holiday season.

The second trial was supposed to begin on Nov. 30, but, as the first trial lasted longer than planned, if the second also lasted as long, it would interfere with the Christmas season.

Kathy Brown of Kathy Brown Law said the second trial will now start on March 21. The third trial is scheduled for May, and the fourth and fifth trials will be Aug. 29 and Nov. 14.

The second trial is a West Virginia case, and although it will be tried in Columbus under Chief Judge Edmund A. Sargus Jr., it will be tried under West Virginia law and not Ohio law.

“It’s the same place with the same judge, but because there is a West Virginia plaintiff, it is my understanding it will be tried under West Virginia law,” Brown said.

The May trial involves a plaintiff with testicular cancer and the August and November trial involve plaintiffs with kidney cancer.

In October, a seven-member federal jury awarded $1.6 million to an Ohio woman who developed kidney cancer and claimed it was after drinking water contaminated with C8.

The jury found that Carla Marie Bartlett's kidney cancer was contracted after being exposed to C8 discharged by DuPont's Washington Works facility in Parkersburg into the Ohio River and her drinking water.

The jury awarded Bartlett $1.1 million in damages due to DuPont's negligence, and $500,000 for emotional distress due to DuPont's conduct. DuPont plans to appeal the verdict.

The litigation between DuPont and the plaintiffs began in 2001 in a class action lawsuit in Wood Circuit Court and that class action lawsuit ended in November 2004 when the parties entered into a class-wide settlement.

The litigation involved C8 that was discharged from DuPont's Parkersburg plant and the settlement agreement provided that if a science panel delivered a no probable link finding, the class members would be forever barred from bringing personal injury or wrongful death claims against DuPoint.

However, if the science panel found that it was "more likely than not that there is a link between C8 and a particular human disease among class members," the panel issued a probable link finding for that specific disease and DuPont waived its right to challenge whether it is probable that exposure to C-8 is capable of causing the linked disease.

The science panel did a six-year study of C8 and found a probable link between C8 exposure and a variety of illnesses, including high cholesterol, kidney cancer, testicular cancer, thyroid disease, inflammatory bowel disease, as well as dangerously high blood pressure in pregnant women.

In the study, the science panel members also took a variety of other factors, such as family history and lifestyle choices, into account when determining if C8 is linked to disease.

Michael K. Rozen of Rozen Law Firm LLP was appointed as Director of Medical Monitoring in the C8 lawsuits in 2012 and he sends weekly summary reports and monthly status reports to the judge and all parties involved in the C8 medical monitoring program.

Rozen also provides monthly invoices for his services.

“During the month of October 2015, the Director continued to administer the Medical Monitoring Program on a daily basis, including communication with and supervision of vendors HealthSmart and Garden City Group regarding all issues associated with the program…” the October invoice states.

Rozen’s October invoice was for $250,024.58, which included $250,000 in professional services and $24.58 in additional charges. His November invoice was for$250,050.02, which included $250,000 in professional services and $50.02 in additional charges.

The C8 Health Project was previously administered by Brookmar Inc., which included blood testing and medical history submissions of almost 70,000 of the affected class members, said Harry Deitzler of Hill, Peterson, Carper, Bee & Deitzler.

“The Brookmar budget approved by the court February 28, 2005 included only $2,220,698.20 for administrative staff costs and provided for more than $30 million worth of laboratory blood testing to the participants,” Deitzler said. “By contrast, in return for his administrative charges of more than $11 million dollars, lawyer Rozen can only claim physician appointments for less than 2,000 individuals and a present value (to participants) of less than $700,000.”

Both projects, the Rozen medical monitoring and the Brookmar C8 Health Project, necessitated separate payment for actual services, such as fees for blood testing and medical interviews or services, which benefitted the participants.

“Rozen’s administrative fees are presently more than 17 times the cost and value of the benefits provided to the participants,” Deitzler said. “Brookmar Inc. registered and assisted more than ten times as many of the affected residents as Rozen, but charged only a fraction of the benefit cost to cover its administrative fees.”

Rozen is paid by DuPont to administer the medical monitoring program after the C8 class action lawsuit came to an end in Parkersburg.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio case number: 2:13-md-02433

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DuPont Hill, Peterson, Carper, Bee & Deitzler, PLLC

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