DuPont to settle PFOA lawsuits for $670 million

Brittany BishopFeb 14, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) - DuPont and Chemours will pay almost $671 million to settle thousands of lawsuits related to the release of a chemical from a plant in West Virginia more than a decade ago.

Analysts at CreditSights said they were expecting a $200M-$400M settlement, with DuPont paying part of the total but with DuPont paying half, the firm says the net liability for Chemours is within expectations; "for Chemours, the settlement is manageable and significantly less than many investors were modeling in", CreditSights says. Both companies didn't admit liability or fault. Chemours and DuPont have agreed to pay up to $25 million a year, for five years, to cover future claims, with DuPont paying the next $25 million if needed. "Keep Your Promises is a community-based organization formed to "(hold) DuPont to the promises it made to the people of the Greater Mid-Ohio Valley in connection to the company's contamination with the chemical C-8". For DuPont and Chemours, who have shamelessly dragged this crisis out for decades, it is time to make good on this settlement offer without any further delay. After the five-year period, Chemours' indemnification obligation under its spin-off agreement with DuPont will continue unchanged and DuPont has no commitment to fund future PFOA costs.

"Chemours has also agreed, that upon the settlement becoming effective, it will not contest its liability to DuPont" for puntive damages, fines, penalties or attorney expenses that are covered under the 2014 Separation Agreement that split the companies. Several test cases in 2016 resulted in multi-million dollar awards for the plaintiffs, causing speculation that DuPont and Chemours would seek to settle. Chemours will retain defenses to whether any individual PFOA claim is within the scope of the indemnification.

To date, seven of the 3,550 PFOA cases have gone to trial.

Validated scientific studies that were funded by DuPont's 2004 settlement found a "probable link" between long-term PFOA exposure and six serious diseases, including cancer.

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