DuPont settles lawsuits over Teflon-making chemical leak

Feb 14, 2017, 00:40
DuPont settles lawsuits over Teflon-making chemical leak

The suit revealed that DuPont's Washington Works facility along the Ohio River had released the chemical into the air and local waterways.

Titanium dioxide maker Chemours Co, which was spun off from DuPont, said it will pay half of the settlement.

Both companies have also agreed to pay up to $25 million a year for any future cases not covered by the global settlement.

"This agreement provides a sound resolution for area residents, Chemours, and the public", David C. Shelton, Chemours senior vice president, general counsel & corporate secretary. Earlier this year, a federal jury had ordered DuPont to pay $500,000 in punitive damages to an OH man who claimed he developed cancer from exposure to PFOA used in the production of Teflon at the Parkersburg facility.

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"The settlement is not in any way an admission of liability or fault by DuPont or Chemours", Chemours added. If the whole $250 million is paid out, the settlement will average around $259,000 per claim, including lawyer fees. "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".

The science panel funded by DuPont conducted a comprehensive health study on the exposure to PFOA of people in the OH and West Virginia areas where PFOA was manufactured for decades. "After the five-year period, Chemours indemnification obligations under the Separation Agreement continue unchanged and DuPont has no commitment to fund PFOA costs", according to DuPont.

As part of the settlement, Chemours agreed not to contest its liability for PFOA costs. Chemours will retain defenses to whether any individual PFOA claim is within the scope of the indemnification. DuPont stopped manufacturing PFOA in 2013. Several test cases in 2016 resulted in multi-million dollar awards for the plaintiffs, causing speculation that DuPont and Chemours would seek to settle. The arrangement will also pay for the jury verdicts, according to DuPont.