Fluoride Action Network

DuPont officials file a request to protect its medical records

Source: The Marietta Times (Ohio) | May 17th, 2003 | By Jeffrey Saulton
Industry type: Perfluorinated chemicals

PARKERSBURG — A motion from DuPont to block the release of certain medical records of employees beyond testing for the presence of C8 was filed in Wood County Circuit Court Friday afternoon.

Steve Fennell, an attorney with Steptoe and Johnson in Washington, D.C., the firm representing DuPont, said the company is not seeking to prevent the release of blood tests to determine the presence of the additive, but to prevent the further release of what the company calls ‘‘private employee medical records’’ and the identities and place of residence of the tested employees.

‘‘We have over the years tested samples from our employees for C8 and we have been able to show no adverse effects,’’ he said. ‘‘No names were given and only the general location of residences were given to keep the records confidential.’’Fennell said the plaintiff counsel wanted access to the underlying medical records that did not pertain to the tests for C8.

Fennell said DuPont considers the information confidential and the release could be harmful to those whose records would be released.

In the filing the company asked the court to ‘‘enter a protective order regarding certain confidential medical records and personal information requested by the plaintiffs.’’

Fennell said the company has not objected to the release of the blood test results, but it does object to releasing other medical records.

‘‘We had asked the plaintiff counsel to wait until Friday to file their motion so employees could be notified by mail of the release of the blood tests and not learn about it in the newspapers,’’ he said. ‘‘They filed their motion Thursday.’’

According to the request filed with the court, the company has requested the court enter an ‘‘appended protective order shielding the medical records of these employees from production to plaintiffs.’’

‘‘In the alternative should this court determine plaintiffs are entitled to review any or all this information, DuPont asks the court enter an appended protective order on confidential medical information…to assure adequate protection of privacy of these employees,’’ the filing states.

Friday’s filing by the DuPont counsel is in response to an order filed Thursday where counsel for the plaintiffs asked Judge George W. Hill to force DuPont to turn over medical documents.

In 2001, a group of Lubeck and Washington residents filed suit against the chemical company and the Lubeck Public Service District. Earlier, the PSD settled its portion of the suit.

In the civil action the plaintiffs allege DuPont discharged C8 into water supplies in excess of the plant’s own guidelines and concealed it from the public

.Plaintiffs allege C8 exposure has made them ill, including increased risks of cancer and other diseases.

They are seeking money from DuPont for medical testing and monitoring for possible health problems as a result of C8 exposure and damages they claim were incurred from injuries and property damage.