Family blames water supply for man's death

Marilyn Tennissen Jun. 6, 2007, 5:00pm

Many lawsuits blame the air that workers breathe has caused illness, but the family of a former employee of Du Pont's Sabine River Works are claiming the drinking water supply at the facility is the cause of the man's death.

Ralph S. Hudson worked as an instrument technician at the Du Pont plant in Orange. His wife, Linda Hudson, and son Ralph Cohen Hudson, filed a wrongful death suit against E.I. Du Pont de Nemours and Company Inc. on May 30 in Orange County District Court.

The plaintiffs' original petition says the Sabine River Works has its own water treatment plant and that during his employment at Sabine River Works, Hudson "ingested water contaminated with haloacetic acid, a known carcinogen, which ultimately caused his untimely death."

The petition does not give further details on the nature or date of Hudson's death, but the family is claiming that Du Pont was negligent in its acts or omissions.

"Defendant, owner of both Sabine River Works and the water treatment plant, was grossly negligent in allowing contaminants such as haloacetic acid to contaminate the drinking water supply," the suit says. "Further, defendant was grossly negligent in failing to warn its employees of the haloacetic acid contamination and in allowing its employees to ingest the water containing these carcinogenic contaminants."

Plaintiffs allege that Du Pont's acts or omissions amount to "gross negligence, gross neglect and malice."

The defendant allowed the unreasonably dangerous product to be placed into stream of commerce, failed to give adequate warnings of harmful effects of ingesting the contaminated water, failed to keep its premises reasonably safe and failed to monitor chemical and toxic levels.

Hudson's family seeks recovery for all elements of damage under the Government Code and the Wrongful Death and Survival Statute.

They also seek punitive and exemplary damages and demand a trial by jury.

Michael McGown and Barry Bennett are representing the plaintiffs.

The case has been assigned to the 260th Orange County District Court, Judge Buddy Hahn presiding.

Case No. D070-270-c

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