According to a news source, the first “popcorn-lung” occupational exposure case tried in California has resulted in a defense verdict. Velasquez v. Flavor & Extract Mfrs. Ass’n, No. BC370319 (Cal. Super. Ct., Los Angeles County, verdict reached December 12, 2012). The plaintiff was a former flavoring factory employee who claimed that his exposure to the butter-flavoring chemical diacetyl caused his debilitating lung disease, bronchiolitis obliterans.
His attorney was quoted as saying, “The defense was very effective in confusing the jury,” observing that the defense suggested that the plaintiff’s health problems could have been attributed to acetaldehyde, another chemical flavoring. The lawsuit originally involved 10 defendants, a number of whom settled with the plaintiff before trial. Plaintiff’s counsel has reportedly indicated that the verdict will be appealed, citing, among other matters, the trial corut’s decision to allow the jury to hear that the plaintiff is an illegal immigrant. See Law360, December 13, 2012.