The attorneys at Humphrey, Farrington & McClain were able to secure a $7.2 million verdict for a 59-year-old man who developed popcorn lung disease after eating microwave popcorn. A federal jury found that the butter manufacturer and the grocery store chain that sold the microwave popcorn should have warned the man that the butter flavoring in the popcorn was dangerous to his health.
"You open the bag, and a whiff comes out, and it's gone. That was enough to cause him to lose 60 percent of his lung function," said attorney Kenneth McClain.
Popcorn lung, also known as bronchiolitis obliterans, is a chronic condition that arises through inhaling butter flavoring that contains diacetyl. This dangerous chemical is also used in candy, potato chips and various other food products. Individuals who develop popcorn lung suffer from a persistent, non-productive cough and shortness of breath.
Reporters for KDVR-TV in Denver say that some stores demand that manufacturers increase the smell of their microwave popcorn in order to boost sells. Unfortunately the chemical that causes the smell can lead to sickness such as the 59-year-old man who won the recent popcorn lung case.
This was the first time a consumer prevailed in a popcorn lung case. Humphrey Farrington has previously represented plant workers who developed popcorn lung from working in microwave plants.
The litigation in this case took four years, but will help consumers and factory workers for years to come because the popcorn manufacturer agreed to no longer use diacetyl in its products.
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