Factory Workers’ Popcorn Lung Case Dismissed

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A Los Angeles jury dismissed claims made by a former flavoring factory worker that his exposure to the chemical diacetyl used for flavoring certain food products caused him to develop a life-threatening condition known as “popcorn lung.”

Law360 (subscription required) reports that the claims against chemical supplier Advanced Biotech Inc. were rejected by the jury following a three-month trial in Los Angeles Superior Court.

The plaintiff, who worked for Gold Coast Ingredients Inc., originally sued 10 companies involved in the manufacture and distribution of diacetyl, a chemical used to make the buttery flavor and odor found in microwave popcorn and other food products. His complaint alleged that exposure to diacetyl and other chemicals caused him to develop bronchiolitis obliterans, a serious lung disease, and he may require a lung transplant as a result.

The other defendants reached an agreement with the plaintiff leaving only Advanced Biotech in the courtroom fray, according to Law360. He sought $27 million in damages from the company, but the jury said that Advanced Biotech’s conduct was not a “substantial cause” for the plaintiff’s illness.

Researchers have reported that exposure to butter flavoring appears to increase the risk of lung damage. Popcorn lung cases, which were initially filed by workers in microwave-popcorn factories, have now spread to flavoring plant workers and microwave-popcorn consumers, reports Law360.

If you or a loved one has experienced an injury at the workplace, contact Sokolove Law today for a free legal consultation and to find out if a workplace injury lawyer may be able to help you.