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$814,500 Awarded in Maryland Popcorn Lung Lawsuit

A recent ‘popcorn lung‘ lawsuit filed against the chemical company Polarome International Inc. has resulted in an $814,500 award for the plaintiff. The complaint – which was filed by a former employee of McCormick & Co. – alleged that the company failed to warn about the risks associated with exposure to the chemical diacetyl, which was used to make popcorn smell buttery. This latest case is just one of more than 300 popcorn lung lawsuits currently in litigation nationwide.

Popcorn Lung Lawsuit Update 9/21/12: In 2007, Colorado resident Wayne Watson was diagnosed with a severe respiratory illness known as bronciolitis obliterans (commonly referred to as ‘popcorn lung’) after eating two bags of microwave popcorn over a period of 10 years. This week, Watson was awarded a $7.2 million verdict against the popcorn maker and the supermarket that sold it for his injuries. Click here to learn more.

Free Popcorn Lung Case Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with bronciolitis obliterans or ‘popcorn lung’ after being exposed to diacetyl, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit and we can help.

What’s the problem?

June 7, 2011 – In the latest so-called ‘popcorn lung’ lawsuit to be concluded around the country, a Baltimore County jury has awarded a former McCormick & Co. employee who contracted the rare lung disease bronchiolitis obliterans – commonly known as popcorn lung – nearly $815,000 after being exposed to diacetyl in the workplace, a chemical that was used for years to make microwave popcorn smell buttery.

The lawsuit was brought by Maryland resident Brian Hallock, and claimed that Polarome Inc. had failed to warn about the possible health risks associated with exposure to diacetyl. Hallock was first exposed to the chemical in 1981, and now suffers from an irreversible case of bronchiolitis obliterans. The plaintiff was originally awarded $5.4 million in May 2011, but that amount was reduced in accordance with Maryland’s cap on non-economic damages.

Hallock’s case is just one of more than 300 popcorn lung lawsuits that have been filed around the country. The majority of these claims have been filed by employees or former employees of popcorn manufacturers who were exposed to diacetyl over a prolonged period of time. However, a growing number of popcorn lung lawsuits are being filed by consumers who claim that eating microwave popcorn with diacetyl caused their bronchiolitis obliterans.

Bronchiolitis Obliterans (Popcorn Lung)

Bronchiolitis obliterans is an inflammatory obstruction of the lung’s tiny airways known as the bronchioles that is caused by the inhalation of diacetyl. The bronchioles become damaged by diacetyl particles, which leads to extensive scarring that blocks the airways. Since it most often occurs among workers in microwave popcorn production, bronchiolitis obliterans is often referred to as ‘popcorn lung’ or ‘popcorn workers lung.’ Signs and symptoms may include:

  • shortness of breath during exertion
  • dry cough (with or without phlegm)
  • wheezing

These symptoms can range from mild to severe, but typically do not improve even after no longer being exposed to diacetyl. While some individuals may see a gradual reduction of cough years after they are no longer exposed to the particles, shortness of breath on exertion often persists.

Do I Have a Popcorn Lung Lawsuit?

The Product Liability Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in diacetyl lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new popcorn lung cases in all 50 states.

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