Accutane | Arsenic | Asbestos | DBCP
Dioxin | Lead Paint | Paraquat | Prempro
Tobacco | Vioxx | Welding Rods | Zyprexa
Here are brief summaries of just four of these cases, one of which resulted in a plaintiff verdict in excess of $200M:
In Thomas v. Lincoln Electric, Welder Butch Thomas allegedly suffered irreversible neurological damage (Parkinson's Disease or Parkinsonism) from Manganese poisoning allegedly caused by toxic Manganese gas emitted by welding rods during the 1970's and 1980's. Thomas used welding rods provided by Lincoln Electric, Hobart, and ESAB.
According to the Plaintiff, Lincoln Electric admitted that they had known about the dangers of Manganese gas since the 1940's, but attempted to minimize the risk, rather than effectively warn. A warning label added in 1967 did not include the word "Manganese," and was not placed where the worker was likely to see it. The plaintiff asserted that this was a conscious, intentional decision to deny the worker his or her right to know.
Documents showed that in 1981 the American Welding Society knew that Manganese fumes were dangerous to welders even at low levels, and that safety warnings requiring "adequate" ventilation were ambiguous and did not reach the welder. Labels mentioning the word "Manganese" did not appear until the late 1990's or after 2000.
Turner v. Chevron was a wrongful death action against Chevron based on exposure to the herbicide Paraquat between 1973 and 1979. The decedent was a CalTrans landscape maintenance officer who sprayed Paraquat as part of his job, and died of pulmonary fibrosis (scarring of the lungs). The decedent sprayed Paraquat on numerous occasions over a number of years. His primary exposure was dermal (skin contact).
The plainitff argued that Paraquat is so toxic that one teaspoon was a lethal dose for humans, and that one-trillionth of a gram causes scarred lungs in rats. According to the plaintiff, more people have died from Paraquat than from any other herbicide, and no other herbicide causes pulmonary fibrosis. The plaintiff argued that Chevron failed to disclose known risk of chronic latent disease resulting from Paraquat exposure, and that safer alternative herbicides existed.
The defense argued that no person ever died from a Paraquat exposure, and the decedent was exposed to a toxicologically insignificant dose. Also, the alleged scarring would not have manifested itself only 20 years later. Instead, according to the defense, the decedent's plumonary fibrosis resulted from aspiration of stomach acid as a result of the decedent's gastrointestinal disorders.
Rowatt v. Wyeth involved an HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) products liability claim by three women whose breast cancers allegedly resulted from pharmaceutical manufacturer Wyeth's menopause treatment drug Prempro.
According to the plaintiff, Wyeth inadequately studied the combination of Estrogin and Progestin. Wyeth allegedly failed to do long-term studies, and ignored red flags that should have alerted Wyeth of a breast cancer risk when Estrogin and Progestin were taken in combination.
The defense asserted that Prempro was safe and effective, providing proven osteoporosis benefits at a very low risk. In addition, Wyeth conducted extensive testing for breast cancer risk. Further, Prempro was provided with adequate warnings. Finally, according to the defense, the plaintiffs' cancers were not caused by Preempro.
Ladner v. Dupont was a wrongful death toxic tort claim against Dupont based on a child who contracted liver cancer as an infant and died of liver cancer at age 11 after allegedly being exposed to arsenic and dioxin emitted by Dupont's titanium dioxide pigment plant.
The plaintiff presented video showing that Dupont's titanium dioxide plant had been dusty, and that the dust tested positive for large quantities of arsenic and dioxin. Because Dupont had claimed that its plant was not dusty, the plaintiff argued that Dupont had a negligent habit of routinely hiding the truth about the dangers of its TiO2 pigments plants from the public -- both how much Arsenic and Dioxin they were releasing, and how dangerous those chemicals were. The plaintiff also presented evidence that the plant manager had prepared comments for the press indicating that dioxin levels at the plant were low, on the same day he had received an email alerting him to the exact opposite.
According to Dupont, the dioxin release did not cause the decedent's cancer.
CVN's Toxic Torts Litigation Video Collection is available by one-year subscription for just $49 per month (email firstname.lastname@example.org).
These are just some of the Toxic Torts cases included:
- Abarca v. Dole
- Barbanell v. RJ Reynolds
- Brown v. RJ Reynolds
- Cohen v. Reynolds
- Grossberg v. Merck
- Hess v. RJ Reynolds
- Kalyvas v. Phillip Morris
- Kuhnke v. Alfa Laval
- Ladner v. Dupont
- McCarrell v. Roche (McCarrell 1)
- McCarrell v. Roche (McCarrell 2)
- Mejia v. Dole
- Miller v. AW Chesterton
- Milwaukee v. National Lead Industries
- Rich v. Bingham
- Roth v. Goodrich
- Sherman v. Reynolds
- Starrh v. Aera
- Tellez v. Dole
- Thacker v. 3M
- Thomas v. Mallett
- Thomas v. Lincoln Electric
- Turner v. Chevron
- In re: Zyprexa