Pesticide Firm Fined $10M for Almost Killing Family

Terminix used banned chemical at US Virgin Islands resort
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2016 4:05 AM CDT
Pesticide Firm Fined $10M for Almost Killing Family
A ferry boat enters Cruz Bay in St. John, US Virgin Islands.   (AP Photo/Tomas van Houtryve, File)

A pest control company that turned a Delaware family's Caribbean vacation into a living nightmare without end has been ordered to cough up $10 million—not including medical expenses. Steve Esmond, Theresa Devine, and their two teenage sons almost died a year ago after staying in a US Virgin Islands vacation villa above one that Terminix workers had sprayed with methyl bromide. The Environment al Protection Agency banned the chemical for indoor use more than 30 years ago, but investigators found that Terminix used it to fumigate more than a dozen US Virgin Islands locations over the last few years, CBS News reports.

The settlement includes $8 million in fines, $1 million to repay the government for cleanup efforts, and $1 million for National Fish and Wildlife Foundation community service projects in the US territory, reports. The company also agreed to cover medical expenses for the family, which suffered what prosecutors described as "profoundly debilitating injuries." Esmond and his sons were the most seriously injured. In September, a family lawyer told CNN that Esmond was slowly recovering, though he suffered severe tremors, while the boys, former star athletes at their school, were "100% cognizant" but almost completely unable to move. "Neurologically, it's like being in a torture chamber," the lawyer said. (Pesticides have caused some huge marijuana recalls in Colorado.)

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