Thursday, October 18, 2012
Eric and Cassandra Peoples, a couple from Carthage, Illinois claimed that the butter flavoring used in popcorn and other artifical snack foods caused Mr. Peoples' bronchiolitis obliterans, more commonly known as "popcorn lung." The disease is caused by the toxic gas that diacetyl, an ingredient in the artifical butter flavor, produces when heated. Constant and regular exposure to the toxic gas "can cause lung problems such as shortness of breath and wheezing." In the awarding the large sum of money to the couple, the jury took note of the medical testimony that was offered in the trial. The doctors who testified on behalf of the Peoples noted that Mr. Peoples would likely need a double-lung transplant at some point in his life.
Now the couple has filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, less than a decade after receiving a $20 million verdict. In particular, the jury awarded such a large sum money to offset the expensive costs of that surgery that Mr. Peoples would likely need. Now the money is gone. The couple apparently owes more than $600,000 in debt, the majority of which belongs to their mortgage.
See Popcorn Lung Couple, Eric And Cassandra Peoples, Files For Bankruptcy, Huffington Post, Oct. 16, 2012.
Special thanks to David S. Luber (Attorney at law, Florida Probate Attorney Wills and Estates Law Firm) for bringing this article to my attention.