DuPont settles lawsuits over leak of chemical used to make Teflon

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By Arathy S Nair

<span class="articleLocation”>DuPont and Chemours Co have agreed
to pay $671 million in cash to settle thousands of lawsuits
involving a leak of a toxic chemical used to make Teflon, the
companies said on Monday.

Shares of Chemours jumped 13 percent. The company said it
would pay half of the settlement, although liability for
litigation connected with the chemical was passed onto it when
DuPont spun it off in 2015.

In addition, Jefferies analyst Alexander Laurence said the
liability was $300 million below Wall Street estimates, and
DuPont shares rose 1 percent.

The companies settled about 3,550 personal injury claims
arising from the leak of perfluorooctanoic acid, which is also
known as PFOA or C-8, from its plant in Parkersburg, West
Virginia.

The leak allegedly contaminated local water supplies and has
been linked to six diseases, including testicular and kidney
cancers.

“We look forward to working with DuPont to finalize this
settlement and get these injured class members paid as quickly
as possible,” plaintiffs’ lawyer Rob Bilott said in a statement.

Both companies denied any wrongdoing.

DuPont said in a statement that it had stopped using C-8 in
operations at the West Virginia plant more than a decade ago. It
had used the chemical there since the early 1950s.

Chemours General Counsel David Shelton called the settlement
a “sound resolution.”

The settlement comes as DuPont and Dow Chemical Co
expect to close their $130 billion merger later this year.

In 2001, residents brought a class action against DuPont
over C-8 exposure. The company agreed in 2004 to fund medical
monitoring programs and install new water treatment systems.

DuPont convened a panel of scientists to determine whether
any diseases were linked to C-8. The panel concluded that there
was a probable link with six illnesses: kidney and testicular
cancer, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, pregnancy-induced
hypertension and high cholesterol.

Members of the class action lawsuit also sued DuPont
individually, and the litigation was consolidated in federal
court in Columbus, Ohio. The company agreed not to challenge
whether C-8 can cause the diseases.

Three verdicts in the litigation totaled $19.7 million. Most
recently, a jury last month ordered DuPont to pay a plaintiff
$12.5 million, including $10.5 million in punitive damages.

The case is In re E.I. Du Pont De Nemours and Company C-8
Personal Injury Litigation, U.S. District Court for Southern
Ohio, No. 13-2433. (Additional reporting by Erica Teichert)



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