Jury Seated In DuPont Trial - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

08/17/05

Jury Seated In DuPont Trial

Jury selection began Wednesday for the first of almost 2,000 cases filed against DuPont's DeLisle plant that allege the release of dioxins triggered health problems. Glen Strong of Bay St. Louis claims the dioxins, chemicals that can be hazardous even in small amounts, gave him cancer. By the end of the day, a jury was seated.

A legal team filed the lawsuit on behalf of Strong and 1,995 other plaintiffs, local residents and former DuPont employees, alleging pollutants from the titanium dioxide plant have caused a variety of illnesses. Titanium dioxide is a white pigment used in paint, plastics, toothpaste and other products DuPont officials said they plan to show there is no connection between activities at the DeLisle facility and the health issues alleged by the plaintiffs.

On Tuesday, the state Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision to exclude testimony from eight DuPont expert witnesses and one corroborating-employee witness in the upcoming trial. Circuit Court Judge Billy Joe Landrum had ruled that DuPont ``deliberately avoided'' the depositions of its witnesses, meaning attorneys for Strong weren't given an opportunity to interview them before trial.

The pretrial deposition of a top plant official gives a prelude of what could unfold when the plaintiffs present their case. According to court documents and the deposition of former DeLisle plant manager Aldo Morell, there were several incidents in which dioxins were allegedly released into the environment.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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