gavel courtroom verdict

Now-Defunct Real Water Ordered to Pay $228.5 Million in Damages for Contaminated Bottled Water

Oct. 6, 2023
Real Water’s product was found to be contaminated after it was linked to severe liver illness and the death of one consumer on the West Coast three years ago.

A Nevada jury has ordered defunct bottled water company Real Water to pay more than $228 million in damages to several plaintiffs who sued the company after getting sick from using the product, according to news reports.

Real Water was linked to liver illnesses in consumers — and the death of a 69-year-old woman who died after drinking the water. The jury found Real Water liable for $200 million in punitive damages and $28.5 million in compensatory damages. Two additional defendants named in the case — Hanna Instruments and Milwaukee Instruments — were also found liable for compensatory damages, the reports said.

In 2021, officials warned people to not use the bottled water from the Las Vegas-based brand after it was linked to liver illness in five hospitalized children. Reports say that the water was contaminated with hydrazine, which is used in the manufacturing of rocket fuel, treating of boiler water to protect against corrosion, and as a pesticide in agriculture, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Real Water product was recalled in March 2021, and the company agreed to cease operations months later. Hanna Instruments and Milwaukee Instruments were included as defendants in the lawsuit, with the claim that their faulty testing equipment contributed to the contamination, the plaintiffs’ attorney has said.

Real Water faces additional lawsuits, as approximately 100 people suffered acute liver failure as a result of drinking the product, the attorney said. A second case is reportedly scheduled for January and will include a man in his 20s who underwent liver transplant surgery after drinking Real Water.

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.

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