By JESS MANCINI
The Parkersburg News and Sentinel
PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — Attorneys in the C8 cases against DuPont have cautioned clients who have yet to respond to the settlement packets to soon do so.
Otherwise they will not be entitled to any compensation in the agreement reached in February in the multi-district litigation against DuPont, said Harry Deitzler, an attorney with Hill, Peterson, Carper, Bee and Deitzler, which is representing clients in the lawsuit. Most of the settlement packets mailed to about 3,500 people have been returned, but about 10 percent remain outstanding, he said,
C8, also known as PFOA, or perfluorooctanoate, was once used at the Washington Works to make Teflon. A science panel studying the health effect on residents in the Mid-Ohio Valley found a probable link between the substance and six diseases in humans, based on the health data of around 70,000 residents in the study.
Cases tried in U.S. District Court in Columbus have resulted in verdicts against the company. In February, attorneys for DuPont and Chemours, the spinoff company that operates the Washington Works, announced a settlement in principle for $670.7 million, which covered the pending and adjudicated cases.
A preliminary deadline to return the settlement packets expired on Monday, Deitzler said. A short extension of the deadline of an undetermined period has been obtained, he said.
However, after that, those who have not responded to the packets will not receive compensation under the settlement, Deitzler said.
“There won’t be anything we can do to help them,” Deitzler said.
Besides clients moving and not notifying attorneys of their new addresses, dying or not responding for other reasons, a problem was people receiving a packet thought it may have been a scam because the information came from different law firms, he said.
Because of the number of clients, about 3,500, and a short period of time to have the settlement packets mailed, prepared and returned, the workload was split among the participating law firms, Deitzler said. The firms were Hill, Peterson, Carper, Bee and Deitzler; Taft, Stettinius and Hollister of Cincinnati; Levin, Papantonia Law Firm of Pensacola, Fla.; Douglas and London of New York, and Kennedy and Madonna of New York.’
Clients saw other law firm on the letterhead and trashed the documents thinking it was a scam, Deitzler said.
DuPont and Chemours are each paying $335.35 million. The amount of settlement for each client is confidential and is based on the disease.
The science panel created in the original C8 lawsuit that studied the health data said there was a probable link with kidney cancer, testicular cancer, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, pregnancy induced hypertension including preeclampsia and hypercholesterolemia in humans.
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