W.Va. DuPont case remanded

Jessica M. Karmasek Dec. 9, 2010, 3:26pm

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) - A federal judge has remanded the lawsuit of 15 West Virginia families who say their illnesses are the result of a former DuPont plant to Harrison County Circuit Court.

According to The Associated Press, U.S. District Judge Irene Keeley made the ruling on Monday. She said the families can make a case in state court on claims of negligence and strict liability.

Plaintiffs already have won a class-action lawsuit over pollution from the former Spelter plant.

DuPont is alleged to have released cadmium, arsenic and lead from one of its smelters into the community, just north of Clarksburg.

The site was originally a DuPont gunpowder mill that opened in 1899. After the mill burned down, Grasselli Chemical Co. built a zinc smelter and a company town. DuPont bought Grasselli in 1928 and operated the smelter until 1950.

Most recently, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has order a new trial of part of the class-action lawsuit. It is set to start March 7, and will focus on whether the suit was filed in a timely manner.

According to the AP, the separate personal-injury case seeks damages for dozens of ailments -- ranging from rashes to cancer -- they attribute to arsenic, cadmium, lead and other toxins from the plant.

The families also are seeking damages for pain and suffering, medical testing and treatment, lost wages, and emotional distress, the AP reported.

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