The lawsuits have been centralized as part of a Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2433) before U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus in the Southern District of Ohio.
The MDL process is like a class action, but each case remains independent and can have its own outcome. Centralization in an MDL streamlines the litigation because lawyers can coordinate discovery and select “bellwether” trials to gauge how a jury will respond to evidence.
The complaints involve similar allegations that residents around DuPont’s Washington Works Plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia drank groundwater that was contaminated with perfluorooctanoid acid (PFOA), also known as C8 or C-8. The chemical is used to manufacture products like Teflon and Gore-Tex.
Lawsuits allege that C8 is a carcinogenic (cancer-causing) chemical that stays in the environment indefinitely. Plaintiffs allege that DuPont knew C8 was toxic in the 1960s, found it in blood banks in the 1970s, and secretly started collecting water samples in the 1980s.
As part of a class action settlement in 2005, DuPont funded the C8 Science Panel to evaluate the health effects of exposure to C8. Researchers looked at data on about 80,000 residents of the Ohio and West Virginia and found higher rates of kidney disease, thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, testicular cancer, pregnancy-induced hypertension (pre-eclampsia), and high cholesterol.
Water districts named in the C8 settlement:
- 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