DuPont and its spinoff, Chemours, will pay $670.7 million to settle the roughly 3,500 lawsuits alleging the dumping of chemicals caused cancer in nearby communities. A jury found the companies liable in a testicular cancer case and awarded $5.1 million in compensatory damages. Chemours would pay any further liabilities. DuPont said in a press release that the settlement involves all claims pending in the multi-district litigation being presided over by District Judge Edmund Sargus Jr.
"The agreement provides a sound resolution for area residents, Chemours, and the public", says David C. Shelton, Chemours' general counsel. Both companies didn't admit liability or fault.
DuPont is in the midst of closing its $62 billion merger with Dow Chemical, which has been approved by shareholders of both companies.
The federal court lawsuits filed against DuPont come after a three-person panel of scientists finished a six-year study of C8 and concluded there were probable links between exposure to the chemical and certain human illnesses.
The deal will fund settlement of lawsuits against the companies for exposing workers and neighbors of its OH and West Virginia plants to perflourooctanoic acid (PFOA, C8), which DuPont formerly used in making the popular low-friction material teflon. In 2005, it was slapped with a $16.5 million penalty from the Environmental Protection Agency for hiding information about its use of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and the impact on neighboring communities. DuPont and Chemours also have an agreement to cover any future liabilities related to the release of the chemical. Chemours will retain defenses to whether any individual PFOA claim is within the scope of the indemnification.
Keep Your Promises DuPont advisor Harold Bock said DuPont's settlement is an enormous step in the right direction and that the group is "cautiously optimistic" about the settlement. "It settles all indemnification obligations between Chemours and DuPont for all of the approximately 3,500 claims" the companies faced, "and allows us to move forward".