DuPont and plaintiffs’ attorneys in the Ohio multi-district litigation (MDL) have jointly agreed to a settlement in principle of the MDL involving about 3,550 lawsuits related to PFOA personal injury claims arising from environmental releases of PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid and its salts) from the Washington Works plant in West Virginia. The total settlement amount is $670.7 million in cash, half of which will be paid by Chemours and half paid by DuPont, however both companies have denied any wrongdoing.
This settlement encompasses all claims pending in the MDL, including those matters for which jury verdicts have been rendered. DuPont discontinued PFOA operations at that plant more than a decade ago. The settlement agreement is subject to receipt of releases or dismissals, as applicable, from individual plaintiffs, among other conditions.
To address potential PFOA liabilities that might arise in the future, Chemours and DuPont have agreed that for a period of five years Chemours would annually pay PFOA liabilities outside the settlement up to $25 million, and that if such amount is exceeded, DuPont would pay any excess liabilities up to the next $25 million, with Chemours annually paying any further excess liabilities. After the five-year period, Chemours indemnification obligations under the Separation Agreement continue unchanged and DuPont has no commitment to fund PFOA costs.
Chemours has also agreed that upon the settlement becoming effective, it will not contest its liability to DuPont under the separation agreement for PFOA costs, based on ostensible defences Chemours believes are generally applicable to the indemnification provisions under the Separation Agreement. These include that such costs relate to punitive damages, fines or penalties or attorneys' fees for the same, but has retained defences as to whether any particular PFOA claim is within the scope of the indemnification provisions of the Separation Agreement.
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