June 17, 2014 — DuPont has been hit with 965 lawsuits involving C8, a toxic chemical that contaminated drinking water in the Mid-Ohio Valley for decades, according to the Charleston Daily Mail.
The lawsuits will be centralized in federal court in the Southern District of Ohio, overseen by District Judge Edmund A. Sargus. The Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2433) is similar to a class action because plaintiffs coordinate the pre-trial discovery process. Unlike a class action, each case is independent and can have its own outcome.
All of the plaintiffs are residents of six water districts in Ohio and West Virginia where C8 contaminated the groundwater:
- Village of Pomeroy, Ohio
- Little Hocking, Ohio
- Belpre, Ohio
- Tuppers Plains, Ohio
- Mason County Public Service District, West Virginia
- Lubeck Public Service District, West Virginia
Plaintiffs allege that C8 was released by DuPont’s Washington Works Plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia, as a byproduct of manufacturing products like Teflon and Gore-Tex. C8, also known as perfluorooctanoid acid (PFOA), is a toxic, cancer-causing chemical that stays in the environment indefinitely.
DuPont allegedly knew C8 was toxic as early as the 1960s and found it in samples at blood banks in the 1970s. In the 1980s, they secretly started testing groundwater. It was not until many years later that 80,000 residents were notified that C8 was present in the drinking water.
As part of a 2005 class action lawsuit settlement, DuPont agreed to fund the C8 Science Panel to investigate the health effects of exposure to C8. Researchers found higher rates of kidney disease, thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, testicular cancer, pregnancy-induced hypertension (pre-eclampsia), and high cholesterol. Plaintiffs in the MDL are seeking financial compensation for these personal injuries.