Jury Awards Popcorn Lung Victim $30 Million

A man who worked at a Flavorchem Corp. plant in the Chicago area has been awarded $30 million in a <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/popcorn_workers_lung">Popcorn Lung lawsuit. According to a report in the Joplin Globe, the verdict is the largest rendered to date in a lawsuit involving the chemical diacetyl, an ingredient in butter flavoring.

Popcorn Lung, known formally as Bronchiolitis obliterans, is a potentially life-threatening, irreversible ailment, for which the only cure is a lung transplant. Popcorn Lung inflames the bronchioles—small lung airways—causing scarring and “obliterating” appropriate airflow. The condition received its nickname in 2007 when it was found to be occurring in popcorn plant workers.

In 2003 and 2004, the National Institute on Occupational Safety and Health found a link between diacetyl and the development of Popcorn Lung among hundreds of workers at six Midwestern popcorn factories. In April 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that workers at food flavoring factories, as well as popcorn plants, were at risk for the disease.

Since the link between the disease and diacetyl has been established, hundreds of food industry workers have filed Popcorn Lung lawsuits.

According to the Joplin Globe, the verdict in this latest case was awarded to Gerardo Solis, 45, who worked at the Flavorchem plant between1998 and 2006 when he was diagnosed with Popcorn Lung. The lawsuit named BASF Corp., a supplier of diacetyl and the world’s largest chemical company, as a defendant.

Solis’ lawsuit said he is totally disabled with 25 percent of normal lung capacity and is projected to require a lung transplant within the next 10 years.

Prior to the Solis verdict, the largest judgment awarded to a Popcorn Lung victim was $20 million, the Joplin Globe said. That verdict was granted in 2004 to a man who worked at the former Jasper Popcorn Co. plant. and his wife.

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