Delaware Family Poisoned on Vacation to Get $87M

Esmond family severely injured by Terminix's use of banned methyl bromide while on vacation
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2016 7:21 AM CDT
$87M Settlement for Del. Family Poisoned by Pesticide
Theresa Devine, left, and Steve Esmond   (YouTube/CBS This Morning)

A Delaware family poisoned by a toxic pesticide during their 2015 Virgin Islands vacation will receive an $87 million settlement from the parent company of Terminix, which admitted using the banned chemical at the resort where they stayed, CBS News reports. Per the New York Daily News, a ServiceMaster Global Holdings earnings report released Thursday first made mention of the payout "to settle all civil claims of the affected family related to the US Virgin Islands matter." The company has already paid $3 million to cover the insurance deductible for the Esmonds, who were severely injured after Terminix workers sprayed methyl bromide—banned for indoor residential use since 1984—in the St. John condo unit below their own, per the Philadelphia Inquirer.

A September CNN report documented the horrifying consequences of the neurotoxin suffered by the Esmonds. Dad Stephen Esmond could barely speak at the time, was unable to turn the pages of a book, and suffered from tremors, while his two teen sons, former athletes who were in medically induced comas for weeks after the incident, were barely able to move. "Neurologically, it's like being in a torture chamber," a family attorney said. Mom Theresa Devine recovered more quickly and was looking after her family. (The Daily News and Inquirer note that no further word on their progress has been made available.) ServiceMaster has also agreed to pay up to $10 million in "fines, community service, and government costs" as part of the settlement, which is subject to court approval at an Aug. 25 hearing. An investigation by the DOJ is also in the works. (More settlement stories.)

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