It was announced today that DuPont and its spin-off, Chemours, have settled 3,500 lawsuits filed by plaintiffs alleging that their illnesses were caused by the chemical known as C8, used in the manufacture of Teflon and stain-resistant textiles for over six decades.
According to a statement posted on the Chemours corporate website, the two companies will each pay half of a global settlement in the amount of $670 million. In addition, in order to cover any claims that may come up in the future, each defendant has agreed to pay up to $25 million a year for the first five years of settlement – bringing the potential total to over $900 million.
Chemour's general counsel and senior V.P. David Shelton says this settlement brings a “sound resolution” for all parties. “It settles all indemnification obligations between Chemours and DuPont for all of the approximately 3,500 claims...and allows us to move forward.”
On one level, this is good news for plaintiffs who have suffered from maladies attributed to C8 poisoning that include thyroid disorders, ulcerative colitis (inflammatory bowel disease), hypertension and cancer. On the other hand, both companies deny there was any wrongdoing.
In a statement, Chemours declared that “The settlement is not in any way an admission of liability or fault by DuPont or Chemours.” Furthermore, investors rewarded the two corporations, as shares for Chemours rose by over 15% after news of the settlement, with DuPont shares making a similar jump.
DuPont is currently attempting to close on a $62 billion deal to merge with Dow Chemical. The merger has run into opposition from regulators in the U.S. and the European Union and has raised serious concerns among food activists. The resulting entity would be the largest chemical corporation in the world, worth approximately $130 billion.
According to its most recent SEC filing, DuPont's current assets exceed $41 billion. The company enjoyed nearly $25 billion in revenues for 2016. Chemours, a much smaller company that was spun off from DuPont two years ago, has actually been losing money, but still has over $6 billion in assets.