Monday, June 18, 2012

Hearing on Monsanto lawsuit deal begins Monday - Judge must decide if settlement is fair

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A hearing begins Monday to determine whether a multimillion-dollar settlement in the huge class-action Monsanto dioxin lawsuit should be approved.

The judge must decide if the settlement reached Feb. 24, after nearly a decade of litigation, is fair, reasonable and adequate.

Under the tentative agreement, chemical giant Monsanto will provide class-members up to $93 million. The company has agreed to a 30-year medical monitoring program with a primary fund of $21 million for testing, and up to $63 million in additional funding, if necessary. It also has agreed to spend $9 million cleaning 4,500 homes.

The settlement also would allow residents to retain their right to file personal-injury lawsuits against Monsanto if medical tests turn up illnesses potentially related to dioxin exposure.

Word of the settlement emerged on the eve of an expected six-month trial in a case in which Nitro-area residents sought medical monitoring for dioxin-related illnesses and a cleanup of what they argue is a contaminated community.


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