Lawsuit against Du Pont says company failed to warn about C8 exposure

By Kyla Asbury | Jan 24, 2019

HUNTINGTON — A man is suing Du Pont for exposure to C8 that caused him injuries.

Jimmy Thornton filed the lawsuit against E.I. Du Pont de Nemours and Company in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia at Huntington.

Thornton lives in Point Pleasant and resided and/or worked in at least one of several contaminated water districts, including Mason County Public Service water district beginning in 1942. 

Du Pont negligently, improperly, inadequately, inappropriately and/or unlawfully maintained its Wood County plant, known as Washington Works Plant, according to the suit.

Thornton claims the defendant allowed C8 to contaminate the air, soil, sediment and water surrounding the Washington Works Plant.

There were many concerns about the potential toxicity of C8 internally by 1954 and Du Pont concluded research in the early 1960s that solidified that C8 was toxic. Du Pont concluded more research in the 1970s that showed a connection between birth defects and C8 and the study was completed in 1981, however, Du Pont chose not to finalize and publish the findings.

In 1990, sampling showed that C8 was present in Dry Run Stream in Wood County and in 2003, Du Pont co-authored a report with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection found that air emissions from the Washington Works Plant were C8 that was found in the water, according to the suit.

In 2011, a C8 Science Panel released a probable link finding between pregnancy-induced hypertension/pre-eclampsia and C8 exposure. The panel also found links between several other diseases and C8. 

Thornton claims he suffered from kidney cancer, which is one of the linked diseases.

"Defendant had a general duty to exercise reasonable care in their ownership, maintenance, management, operation and/or control of the Plant, including a duty to assure that the Plant would not create a nuisance or condition causing any harm, injury or damage to innocent people or the environment," the complaint states.

Despite knowing of the harmful effects of C8 exposure, Du Pont contaminated the drinking water of the area with C8and was negligent in failing to properly notify the public or government, according to the suit.

Thornton is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He is represented by Clayton J. Fitzsimmons and Robert J. Fitzsimmons of Fitzsimmons Law Firm. 

The case is assigned to District Judge Thomas E. Johnston.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia Case number: 3:18-cv-01513

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Fitzsimmons Law Firm, PLLC U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia Huntington Division

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