February 13, 2017 | Rebecca Coons
DuPont and Chemours will each pay $335.35 million in cash in personal injury claims to settle 3,550 lawsuits related to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) environmental releases from the Washington Works plant in West Virginia, DuPont has announced. The settlement agreement is subject to the receipt of releases or dismissals, as applicable, from individual plaintiffs, among other conditions. The companies and plaintiffs' attorneys in the Ohio multi-district litigation (MDL) have jointly agreed to a settlement. The two companies have denied any wrongdoing. The settlement encompasses all claims pending in the MDL, including those matters for which jury verdicts have been rendered, DuPont says. DuPont discontinued PFOA operations at the plant more than a decade ago.
Chemours and DuPont have agreed that, for a period of five years, Chemours will annually pay PFOA liabilities outside the settlement up to $25 million. DuPont will cover liabilities in excess of these $25 million up to the next $25 million, with Chemours annually paying any further excess liabilities. This measure has been established to address potential PFOA liabilities that could arise, DuPont adds.
After the five-year period, DuPont has no commitment to fund further PFOA costs, but Chemours' indemnification obligations remain unchanged, DuPont adds. DuPont spun off Chemours in 2015.
Chemours has also agreed that once the settlement becomes effective, it will not contest its liability to DuPont under the separation agreement for PFOA. This includes costs that relate to punitive damages, fines, or penalties or attorneys' fees. Chemours has retained defenses as to whether any particular PFOA claim is within the scope of the indemnification provisions of the separation agreement, DuPont says.