CHARLESTON, W.Va (CN) – West Virginia residents who won $381 million in damages from DuPont must have the award reduced, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ruled.
Lenora Perrine and nine of her neighbors led a class-action suit against E. I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. for contamination from a zinc smelter facility in the town of Spelter.
Plaintiffs were exposed to arsenic, lead, and cadmium contamination.
The trial court awarded the class $55 million for soil and structural remediation, $130 million for medical monitoring and $196 million in punitive damages.
However, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that the amount would not stand.
“Punitive damages may not be awarded on a cause of action for medical monitoring,” Judge Alan Moats wrote, noting that medical monitoring accounted for 40 percent of the punitive damages award.
The court reversed the punitive damages award, sent the case back and directed the lower court to give plaintiffs 30 days to decide whether they will accept $20 million in punitive damages — duPont’s cleanup costs – or submit to a new trial on punitive damages only.