Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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October 15, 2012

Couple that won $20 million lawsuit files for bankruptcy

CARTHAGE, Mo. — A Missouri couple who won a $20 million verdict in a popcorn worker’s lawsuit eight years ago have filed for bankruptcy and are being forced to sell their $3.9 million home to pay off creditors.

Eric and Cassandra Peoples filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last month in U.S. District Court in Springfield.

The couple won a $20 million verdict in 2004 against International Flavors and Fragrances Inc. and Bush Boake Allen Inc., makers of a butter flavoring used at a popcorn plant where Eric Peoples worked.

The lawsuit claimed that he developed a irreversible disease of the lungs, as a result of exposure to diacetyl, a chemical present in the butter flavoring.

A Jasper County jury awarded Eric Peoples $18 million and his wife $2 million. Their case was the first of many brought by workers at the plant and their spouses against three different makers of the butter flavoring.

Exactly how much of the verdict the couple received has never been made public.

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Details for this story were provided by The Joplin (Mo.) Globe.

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