Jones Swanson has joined with five other law firms to bring a potential class action lawsuit against a LaPlace, Louisiana-based plant that, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, has for years exposed nearby residents to unsafe concentrations of chloroprene, a “likely carcinogen.”   

DuPont owned the plant until 2015, when it sold the facility, but not the land underlying it, to Denka Performance Elastomer, LLC.

How unsafe is the air near the plant? According to recent EPA findings:

  • “Due to Denka (formerly DuPont) chloroprene emissions,” residents of LaPlace face the highest risk in the US of cancer from airborne pollutants.
  •  Air samples taken at monitoring stations around the plant between May 2016 and June 2017 show chloroprene at levels sometimes hundreds of times higher than what the EPA considers safe. (The EPA has found that 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter of chloroprene puts human beings at an increased risk of getting cancer.)

Chloroprene is a chemical used in the production of neoprene. The LaPlace plant is the only manufacturing facility for neoprene in the US.

The EPA classified chloroprene as a “likely human carcinogen” in 2010. But Jones Swanson and co-counsel allege in legal filings that Denka knew about the risks of exposure to chloroprene when it bought the facility in 2015.

DuPont, they allege, has known about the dangers of chloroprene for even longer.

According to the class action petition, “DuPont has, for decades, studied and assessed the risks and harms of exposure to chloroprene, but concealed such knowledge from its employees, from the communities around its facilities, and from government agencies.”

The petition also alleges that DuPont “established internal concentration-based maximum exposure levels to chloroprene for its facilities; however, it often exceeded those levels.”

Jones Swanson and co-counsel filed the case on June 29, 2017 in the 40th Judicial District Court for St. John the Baptist Parish, State of Louisiana. They are requesting certification for a class that includes anyone who has lived, worked or attended school within a certain defined area surrounding the Denka/DuPont plant since January 1, 2011.

The case is Robert Taylor, Jr. et al. v. Denka Performance Elastomer LLC and EI DuPont de Nemours and Company. Counsel for plaintiffs include:

Jones, Swanson, Huddell & Garrison, LLC

Bruno & Bruno, LLP

The Lambert Firm, PLC

Sylvia Elaine Taylor, Esq.

Randal L. Gaines, Esq.

Cummings & Cummings, LLC is also of counsel to plaintiffs.

Additional Press:

The New Orleans Advocate: St. John residents sue LaPlace plant over chloroprene emissions

The New Orleans Advocate: LaPlace chemical plant, criticized for releasing ‘likely carcinogen,’ cited for 50 potential Clean Air Act violations

Fox 8: EPA singles out small Louisiana community as highest cancer risk

The Intercept: The plant next door