Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Jury Awards Popcorn Worker $15 Million

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Jury Awards Popcorn Worker $15 Million

Article excerpt

A jury has awarded $15 million in damages to a former employee of Gilster-Mary Lee Corp. and his wife on the grounds that the man suffered irreparable lung damage from breathing in butter flavoring fumes at the company's microwave popcorn factory in Jasper, Mo.

A lawsuit filed by Richard Brand, a former maintenance worker at the Gilster-Mary Lee plant, and his wife, Lana, against the makers of the butter flavoring--New York-based International Flavor and Fragrances Inc. and its subsidiary, Bush Boake Allen Inc.--claimed that butter flavoring chemicals produced by the two companies were hazardous and that the defendants failed to warn plant workers of the dangers of inhaling the fumes.

Richard Brand contends that he developed a rare and irreversible lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans--also known as Popcorn Packer's Lung--from exposure to diacetyl, a chemical in the butter flavoring sold by the defendants to Gilster-Mary Lee.

A jury in the Circuit Court of Jasper awarded Richard Brand $12 million and Lana Brand $3 million following a 2-week trial. …

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