Controversy continues to swirl over DuPont’s legacy liabilities for C8 contamination.
The News-Journal reported this interesting story earlier this week:
Plaintiffs suing DuPont Co. over alleged exposure to the toxic chemical C8 want to know who is going to pay the $1 billion in damages they are seeking.
Who will be held ultimately responsible is unclear, they say, because DuPont plans to merge with the Dow Chemical Co. later this year and then split into three separate businesses by 2018.
The plaintiffs this week asked a federal judge for documents clarifying DuPont’s liabilities and obligations after the merger and subsequent split.
I’ve posted a copy of that legal filing here, and the News-Journal story continues:
In an April 18 legal filing, Julie Mazza, acting associate general counsel for DuPont, said the company has not made a decision on how the liability will be handled. Mazza also said it is unclear how the company will handle its obligations under Leach v. DuPont.
The Leach case, filed by Mid-Ohio Valley residents, was settled in 2005. Under the settlement, DuPont was mandated to pay for medical monitoring of those potentially exposed to C8 and install water filters to remove the chemical from area water supplies among other commitments. Thousands of Mid-Ohio Valley citizens had opted out of the Leach settlement to pursue their own claims. Those cases will move forward at the glacial pace of 40 cases a year starting in 2017.
“Currently, there has been no determination as to how the obligations of DuPont to the other parties under the Leach settlement agreement would be allocated as part of any post-merger separations,” Mazza wrote referring to Leach v. DuPont, which was filed in 2001.
Plaintiffs’ attorneys representing those who opted out of the Leach settlement responded to Mazza with a motion asking the court to release documents providing details on the C8 liabilities. In a separate court filing, the attorneys called Mazza’s declaration “troubling.”
“It failed to supply any meaningful information regarding where the liabilities relating to the C8 litigation will end up after the proposed DuPont/Dow merger,” wrote Michael London of Douglas & London, a New York firm. “Most importantly, the declaration failed to provide any information regarding whether DuPont will even exist after the merger transaction.”