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Jury awards butter-flavor tester $20M in suit.

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by thatK30guy, Mar 16, 2004.

  1. thatK30guy

    thatK30guy 1 ton status Premium Member

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    JOPLIN, Mo. - A factory worker who claimed his lungs were ruined as a result of mixing flavoring oils used in microwave popcorn was awarded $20 million by a jury Monday.



    Eric Peoples was the first of 30 former workers at the Gilster-Mary Lee Corp. plant in Jasper to have his suit heard against the two makers of the butter flavoring. Following a morning of closing arguments, the jury deliberated for a little more than three hours before returning the verdict.


    Peoples cried and hugged his wife, Cassandra, as the jury ruled against International Flavors and Fragrances Inc. and its subsidiary Bush Boake Allen Inc., the manufacturers of the flavoring. They were ordered to pay $18 million to Eric Peoples and $2 million to his wife for compensatory personal injury damages.


    "We're relieved that it's over and our lives can get back to as normal as they can be," Eric Peoples said. "At least for now, we'll be able to spoil our children and let them forget for a while."


    Trial testimony showed if Peoples' health remains stable, he could wait at least 10 years for a needed double-lung transplant; life expectancy of a lung transplant recipient is about 10 years.


    "Eric feels like he's in prison," McClain told jurors. "He's going to eventually go through the physical pain of a lung transplant, knowing that he's going back to prison again because he'll eventually get lung disease again."


    The attorneys for the manufacturers left the courthouse without speaking to reporters.


    The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health also has linked exposure to vapors from butter flavoring to lung disease in popcorn factory workers Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska.


    Peoples' attorney, Ken McClain, said his next case in Jasper County is set for April 20. He also has cases pending in Illinois and Iowa.


    "I want to keep the pressure up and get these cases done as soon as we can," McClain said.


    Health officials insist people who microwave popcorn and eat it at home are not in danger, although the Environmental Protection Agency (news - web sites) is studying the chemicals released into the air when a bag of microwave popcorn is popped.


    Peoples' suit charged that International Flavors and Fragrances and Bush Boake Allen knew their butter flavoring was hazardous, but failed to warn the southwest Missouri plant and its workers of the dangers or provide adequate safety instructions.


    During their closing, attorneys for the two corporations told jurors their product is safe when handled properly. Information sent to popcorn plant officials warned the flavoring should be mixed in a well ventilated area and a respirator should be worn when heating it.


    "We know beyond a shadow of doubt that if you use basic hygiene practices, you don't have a problem in this plant," said attorney Mike Patton, who represents New York-based International Flavors and Fragrances.


    Gilster-Mary Lee, which was not named in the suit, remodeled the plant after government investigators in 2001 linked a chemical in the butter flavoring, diacetyl, to the workers' illnesses. There have been no reports of illness since the ventilation was improved and workers began wearing respirators, Patton said.

    America's finest.....sue 'em and screw 'em. /forums/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif /forums/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif /forums/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif
     
  2. hi pinion

    hi pinion 3/4 ton status

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    Hey man,that really bites.They most likely spent years building a family buisness for some llamo to come take everything or most everything away."popkorn and polotics"hmm,thats interesting.Hope they try to video the dude to show he is ok,and take the money back lol.Mabey "popkorn juice"isnt the only thing he is inhalling lol /forums/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gifJake
     
  3. Can Can

    Can Can Pusher Man Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I dunno......Lots of companies out there have been fined and sued for not following OSHA codes when it resulted in worker death or injury. I don't know what industry you guys work in, but in my line of work there have been plenty of cases where companies don't follow the laws and their staff end up getting hurt because the company didn't have appropriate safety programs in place.

    Wouldn't you be pissed if you had been exposed to bad shite your whole career and after you retired you found out that you needed a double lung transplant? I sure as hell would be.
     
  4. unick

    unick 1/2 ton status

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    My dad used to own a Rhino linings business and somthing went wrong with one of the respirators and the worker got all messed up. From what I heard he lost all the little hairs that are in your lungs or something like that. Basicly this guys lungs are ruined because Rhino Lineing sent bad respirators out. The guy sued Rhino but I never heard what happened with it. So this guy cant really work anymore and support his family cause hes always sick. I hope he gets something out of it.

    Nick
     
  5. R72K5

    R72K5 Banned

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    they are called cilia they always are in movement to bring junk up oput of lungs, smokers' cilia's effects are diminished and impeded upon by tar and junk in the smoke and if you have no cilia or reduced function cilia then youll have lung problems of course, fluid and junk trapped in lungs, etc.
     
  6. jakeslim

    jakeslim 1/2 ton status

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    believe me, that company got what it deserved. Too many corporate structures want$$$$. Worker safety went out with unions a couple of decades ago. It's even worse if companies are public, because they are driven by idiots to make what ever penny they can make at all cost....well not all of them, but some.

    ok, NOW its time to go eat.
     
  7. hi pinion

    hi pinion 3/4 ton status

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    Yeah,i see your point too,but you being a buisness owner like me,you probobly know the risk involved with the whole employee thing....thats why i dont want employees(cough cough)workmans comp too lol....in this case i dont know realy,i just dont like to see people work hard for something ,just to have it stripped away in a matter of days /forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif but who knows the whole deal.Jake /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     

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