Money Mayhem: Man Wins $7 Million Over ‘Popcorn Lung’

Libby Kane
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LearnVest always seeks to educate and inform, but every once in a while, a financial matter hits the headlines and makes us go, “Huh.”

Sometimes it even provides us a lens to learn about ourselves. In that spirit, from bad money decisions to financial lessons worth millions, consider our Money Mayhem series your source of financial edu-tainment.

On Wednesday, 59-year-old Wayne Watson was awarded $7 million in a lawsuit he filed over “popcorn lung.”

Now, the “mayhem” part of this installment of Money Mayhem isn’t that he won a lawsuit, or even that he was awarded $7 million because of it. We can’t get over the other part: the popcorn lung.

Popcorn lung is a toxic lung disease caused by inhaling Dicetyl, a compound found in artificial butter. Because it has also been linked to lung disease in workers in the plants that manufacture microwave popcorn, it’s no longer used.

According to CBS Denver, Watson used to eat two bags of the popcorn–which he bought at supermarket chain King Soopers–every day. Key words: used to. He says that he hasn’t eaten a bag since 2007, when he was diagnosed.

So Watson sued the manufacturer for lack of testing and the supermarket for lack of warnings (lawyers representing the supermarket said that they “might as well have warned that there are aliens popping out of the bags because there’s just as much support for that”) and won $7 million.

Of course, health is priceless, but at least his win should leave him able to pay any necessary medical bills. Next time on Money Mayhem: Man Wins $14 Million When Aliens Pop Out of Popcorn Bag?