January 22, 2013 — DuPont has filed a motion requesting that a panel of federal judges establish a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) to centralize a growing number of C8 lawsuits into one federal court. The company could face thousands of personal injury lawsuits from people who drank groundwater contaminated with the toxic chemical C8. There are currently 26 C8 lawsuits against DuPont, with seven in West Virginia and 19 in Ohio.
All of the plaintiffs lived in an affected water district, drank tap water contaminated with C8 before December 2004 for at least one year, and have suffered a disease that is linked to exposure.
DuPont has already settled a class action lawsuit involving approximately 80,000 area residents who were exposed to C8. Under the terms of the settlement, DuPont was required to pay for an investigative “Science Panel” to investigate whether C8 exposure was associated with higher risks of health problems.
The C8 Science Panel found “probable links” between C8 exposure and the following diseases:
- Pregnancy-induced high blood pressure (including preeclampsia)
- Kidney cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Thyroid disease
- Ulcerative colitis (inflammatory bowel disease)
- High cholesterol
Plaintiffs who were exposed to C8 and suffered any of the aforementioned diseases may be eligible to seek further damages against DuPont by filing a personal injury lawsuit. In DuPont’s motion requesting centralization, they expected the number of lawsuits to grow:
“Since the Leach class was comprised of approximately 80,000 persons, many additional lawsuits may be filed by former members of the Leach class alleging that they too suffer from one of the diseases to which there was a probable link finding by the Science Panel.”
DuPont argues that the lawsuits are appropriate for centralization because they contain similar injuries and factual matters. A Multi-District Litigation (MDL) could help avoid duplicative discovery, minimize the burden on witnesses, and expedite a resolution of grievances. The company has also expressed preference for Ohio over West Virginia, given that the majority of the lawsuits are filed in that state.