A liability lawsuit against the manufacturers of an artificial butter flavoring used at a popcorn plant has ended in a settlement. Attorneys for plaintiff Samantha Taffner and...
CARTHAGE, Mo. A liability lawsuit against the manufacturers of an artificial butter flavoring used at a popcorn plant has ended in a settlement.
Attorneys for plaintiff Samantha Taffner and defendants International Flavors and Fragrances and Bush Boake Allen, which International purchased in 2000, told Jasper County Associate Judge Stephen Carlton they reached a deal Friday, after a 10-day trial.
Taffner, 28, is one of about 30 former workers at the Gilster-Mary Lee plant in Jasper and their spouses who have sued the manufacturers, claiming they should have known the chemical diacetyl, used to make the butter flavoring, causes lung damage.
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“The terms of the settlement are confidential, but my client is very pleased that the settlement will allow her to take care of her health and family in a way that will attempt to minimize future suffering,” said Ken McClain, an attorney for Taffner.
Mike Patton, an attorney representing International Flavors, declined to comment.
Court records say Taffner, a mother of two, worked at the plant from 1996 through 1998. She claimed that exposure to the chemical reduced her lung capacity to 26 percent of normal and left her in need of a lung transplant.
Attorneys for the two corporations have maintained that popcorn-plant officials were warned that the flavoring should be mixed in a well-ventilated area and that a respirator should be worn when heating it.
In March, jurors awarded $20 million to a former plant worker and his wife. The manufacturers have appealed. Confidential settlements were reached in two other trials.
A new trial has been ordered in another case, which had ended with jurors refusing to award any money to four workers.