Monsanto Settles Nitro, W.Va. Agent Orange Cases

A judge granted preliminary approval to a settlement involving activities done 40-60 years ago at the company'’s former plant in the West Virginia city, an industrialized suburb of the state capital, Charleston.

Monsanto announced that a state judge granted preliminary approval of a settlement of lawsuits and potential class actions involving a plant it formerly operated in Nitro, W.Va. A herbicide produced there was a component of Agent Orange, the Vietnam War-era defoliant, and the litigation alleged that work done at the plant sickened thousands of residents.

Announced Feb. 24, the settlement sets up a 30-year medical monitoring program at a local hospital and allows people who lived, worked, or attended school in the Nitro area during the period covered by the lawsuit to apply for benefits, according to the St. Louis-based company. It said the settlement will resolve all pending litigation as well as class actions filed in West Virginia.

Free professional cleaning of about 4,500 homes will be available and will be paid for by a $9 million fund. Another $21 million fund will pay for eligible class members’ medical testing and up to $63 million for the 30-year medical screening program.

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