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Man Files Personal Injury Lawsuit Claiming that Eating Microwave Popcorn Injured His Lungs

Kenneth McClain, a Denver, Colorado resident, has filed a personal injury lawsuit because he says that the artificial butter flavoring on microwave popcorn gave him bronchiolitis obliterans, also called “popcorn lung.” He filed his lawsuit against Kroger Company, Inter-American Products Inc., and Dillon Companies Inc, which owns the King Soopers grocery store.

McClain would eat two bags a day. He is the only consumer who has been diagnosed with “popcorn lung,” which can sometimes develop in factory workers involved in the testing of microwave popcorn.

Ingesting flavoring chemicals is believed to be one cause of bronchiolitis obliterans. People with this type of lung damage have problems breathing because their lung’s airways have been destroyed.

At the Gilster Mary Lee Factory in Missouri, 10 workers had to be put on lung transplant waiting lists. 30 workers injured at the plant filed personal injury lawsuits. One of the workers, Eric Peoples, was awarded $18 million. His wife was awarded $2 million in compensatory injury damages.

The artificial butter flavoring that is believed to sometimes cause “popcorn lung” is called Diacetyl, which is a naturally occurring compound. In December, the countries four largest microwave popcorn manufacturers said they were changing their recipes and removing Diacetyl from almost all of its products.

Products Liability
The product manufacturers are legally obligated to make sure that no one is harmed by their products. An person injured by a defective product can file a products liability claim on the grounds of strict liability, negligence, or breach of warranty.

“Products” includes all consumer products, from tangible products, such as electronic devices, motor vehicles, and toys, to pets, real estate, writing and instructional materials, gases, and chemicals.

Product retailers and distributors can also be named as defendants in defective products lawsuits.

Denver Man Files Lawsuit Claiming Microwave Popcorn Damaged His Lungs, Fox News, January 15, 2008
$20 million awarded in popcorn lawsuit, AP, March 15, 2004

Related Web Resources:

Popcorn May Cause Lung Disease, ABCNews.com, September 6, 2007
Products Liability Law, Cornell Law School