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ATLANTA—A federal appeals court has upheld a jury verdict in a lower court that an E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co.'s chemical product used by a Florida farmer did not cause his cancer.
Guillermo Ramirez, who was diagnosed with kidney and brain cancer in 2007 and 2008 respectively, alleged in a 2010 complaint that DuPont's product, Benlate, was defective when used in conjunction with farming operations because it contained atrazine, a known carcinogen, according to court documents.
Although a jury found that Benlate was a defective product, it did not find it to be the cause of Mr. Ramirez's cancer and returned a verdict favorable to DuPont.
During Mr. Ramirez’s use of Benlate in 1990 and 1991, he wore protective clothing and rode inside a closed tractor cab. Furthermore, Mr. Ramirez had a history of diabetes, obesity, smoking cigarettes and a family history of cancer, according to court documents.
A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta on Tuesday affirmed the lower court jury’s verdict, according to court documents.
“We agree with the district court that Ramirez’s argument lacks merit because defect and causation are separate elements of the causes of action at issue, and it was proper for the jury to evaluate them separately,” the judges wrote. “The record supports that the jury was presented with numerous plausible reasons for determining that Benlate did not cause Ramirez's cancer.”
In his appeal, Mr. Ramirez also maintained that testimony from DuPont’s expert witness be stricken.
But the three-judge panel disagreed, noting that DuPont’s expert witness’ opinions were not speculative or improper in their assumptions.