Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | July 14, 2009

Kentucky environmental attorney Sanders says federal jury in Ashland hammers DuPont for gross negligence in release of hazardous chemicals over Wurtland, Kentucky.

A federal court jury sitting in Ashland, Kentucky ruled that chemical giant DuPont was guilty of gross negligence in a 2004 leak at its Wurtland plant that released clouds of sulfuric acid over large portions of Greenup County.  Wurtland is a city in Greenup County, Kentucky, along the Ohio River. The population was 1,049 at the 2000 census.  

The 10-member jury found in favor of the plaintiffs on Monday after deliberating for about three hours and 40 minutes.  The federal court jurors concluded the initial group was entitled to receive about $130,000 in compensatory damages from DuPont. 

Gross negligence is usually described as willful and wanton conduct that must be punished by the court to discourage such undesireable conduct from occurring in the future. Thus, the reason for the punitive damage award by the jury.

 Because of Dupont’s gross negligence, the jury awarded $1,130,000 in punitive damages.   DuPont will likely contest the jury award.

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