Turner v. Chevron

VERDICT

Trial
01/10/08 – 02/13/08

Play button overlay 45f08f27c7337d189e8c31e635b5d0a0781b273131135cd77ee8b6f12366e7a2
Play button overlay 45f08f27c7337d189e8c31e635b5d0a0781b273131135cd77ee8b6f12366e7a2

Summary

Retrial of a wrongful death action against Chevron based on exposure to the herbicide Paraquat betweeen 1973 and 1979. The decedent was a CalTrans landscape maintenance officer who sprayed Paraquat as part of his job, and died of pulmonary fibrosis (scarring of the lungs). The decedent sprayed Paraquat on numerous occasions over a number of years. His primary exposure was dermal (skin contact).

The plaintiff argued that Paraquat is so toxic that one teaspoon was a lethal dose for humans, and that one one-trilliionth of a gram causes scarred lungs in rats. According to the plaintiff, more people have died from Paraquat than from any other herbicide, and no other herbicide causes pulmonary fibrosis. The plaintiff argued that Chevron failed to disclose known risk of chronic latent disease resulting from Paraquat exposure, and that safer alternative herbicides existed.

The defense argued that no person ever died from Paraquat exposure, and the decedent was exposed to a toxicologically insignificant dose. Also, the alleged lung scarring would not have manifested itself only 20 years later. Instead, according to the defense, the decedent's pulmonary fibrosis resulted from aspiration of stomach acid as a result of the decedent's gastrointestinal disorders.

On February 22, 2008, jury returned a defense verdict finding that Paraquat was not a substantial factor in causing plaintiff's illness or death.

Outcome

Jury found for the defense.

Sessions

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11
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18
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JAN
25
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1
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8
AM Session
Other
3 Chapters
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13

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