(TheConservativeTimes.org) – Supreme Court Justice Clarene Thomas has taken issue with his perceived unfair treatment of chemical company DuPont de Nemours Inc. by the Supreme Court.
Thomas expressed his view on the matter in a dissent over a decision that denied DuPont’s petition to the Supreme Court asking for a review of a ruling against the company. DuPont was originally sued by a man from Ohio, Travis Abbot, who claimed that a plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia exposed water sources to dangerous chemicals that in turn caused him to develop testicular cancer. A U.S. district court sided with Abbot, awarding him a $40 million settlement in 2020.
However, DuPont argued that its ability to properly mount a defense against Abbot suit was severely hampered by a legal doctrine called a “collateral estoppel.” The rule prevents counsel from arguing points already raised and ruled on in the past so that similar facts would not be litigated on multiple times. The district court deemed that since DuPont would present similar arguments from other similar suits in the past, collateral estoppel applied to the case.
Lawyers for DuPont disagreed, calling it “profoundly wrong” that the collateral estoppel doctrine was applied in Abbot’s suit against the company. DuPont petitioned the Supreme Court to that effect, asking that its defense arguments be heard in the highest court in the land. The Supreme Court, however, ultimately decided to decline the petition.
In his dissenting opinion, Thomas argued that such a denial goes against the U.S.’ “deep-rooted historic tradition” of allowing everyone to have “his own day in court.” He also explained that the application of a collateral estoppel in DuPont’s case sets a precedent that could effectively prevent DuPont and other companies from mounting a proper defense in cases of a similar nature that could pop up in the future. He further stated that he has doubts that the application of the doctrine “comports with due process.”
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