Posted on 18 Aug 2010
A employee who contracted a rare lung disease after working in a plant that exposed him to diacetyl, an ingredient in butter flavoring used in popcorn, has won a record $30.4 million lawsuit.
Gerardo Solis worked at a plant owned by Illinois-based Flavorchem Corp. between 1998 and 2006, when he was diagnosed with broncholiolitis obliterans, a rare lung disease that reduced his lung capacity by 75 percent.
A jury sided with Solis against BASF Corp., the supplier of the diacetyl.
The award is the highest to date in U.S. cases involving popcorn and butter-flavoring worker lawsuits, according to Independence, Mo.-based Humphrey Farrington & McClain P.C., the firm that represented Solis.
The highest amount previously granted by a jury in cases like Solis’ was $20 million against Bush Boake Allen Inc. and International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. in 2004.