Monsanto Pays 93 Million to Victims In Settlement

Monsanto tentatively agreed to a $93 million settlement with some residents of Nitro, West Virginia. Nitro is a small town that got its name from manufacturing explosives during WWI.  It was also the site of a Monsanto chemical plant that manufactured 2,4,5-T herbicide that was half of the Agent Orange recipe. Herbicide 2,4,5-T was contaminated with the caustic by-product dioxin. This settlement may open the floodgates to successfully suing Monsanto for its poison.
[divider]

Nitro Settlement

Herbicide 2,4,5-T was phased out in the late 1970′s. Dioxin is the most dangerous chemical known and has a 100 year half-life when leached into soil or embedded in water systems. The Veteran’s Administration recognizes and pays out on Agent Orange injury claims that include cancer, birth defects in children of exposed victims, leukemia, liver disease, heart disease, Parkinson’s Disease, diabetes and chloracne.

Despite an explosion in the Nitro plant in 1949, not a single penny has been paid to residents of Nitro for dioxin injuries, per an attorney that worked on a previous dioxin case. After 7 years of litigation, and on the heels of the EPA releasing part of its dioxin assessment report,  Monsanto has made a tentative agreement to settle a class action suit with some Nitro residents for a total of $93 million.  Here are the proposed settlement figures:

[starlist]

  • Medical Testing:  $21 Million
  • Additional Screening:  $63 Million
  • Cleanup of 4500 homes:  $9 Million[/starlist]

Bloomberg reports that this settlement will reduce Monsanto’s 2012 net income by 5 cents per share, but Monsanto may face additional lawsuits and fines. There are potentially 80,000 property damage claims alone that could cost Monsanto $3.9 billion in cleanup costs. Dioxin has contaminated soil and has been found in dust in residents’ homes at very high levels.
[divider]

Nitro Residents vs. Monsanto

Several months ago, the judge in the Nitro case issued a gag order in this case, which was unusual, so details are a bit sketchy. It is unclear whether the following evidence was introduced:

  1. Monsanto is alleged to have burned dioxin waste in open pits, spewing dioxin and its ash into the air and polluting land.
  2. The EPA recommended that Monsanto be criminally investigated for fraud in covering-up dioxin contamination in its products, including 2,4,5-T herbicide. Monsanto failed to report contamination, substituted false information to show no contamination or sent in “doctored” samples of their products devoid of dioxin to government regulators.
  3. The EPA recommended that Monsanto be criminally investigated for fraud in falsifying health studies. These flawed studies that concluded dioxin did not cause cancer and other negative health effects (except chloracne) were used to deny benefits to Viet Nam veterans.
  4. Solutia, a Monsanto spin-off company that once owned its Nitro plant, was found by the EPA to have many deteriorating drums of dioxin buried near the Kanawha River. The Nitro plant produced dioxin contaminated 2,4,5-T from 1949 to 1971.

Agent Orange Government Contractor Immunity

In the past, both Monsanto and Dow Chemical enjoyed government immunity as government contractors under numerous outrageous rulings by Judge Jack Weistein, according to journalist Laura Akgulian.

Dr. Gerson Smoger’s huge body of evidence in another case appears to point to intentional fraud by Agent Orange manufacturers, but the Supreme Court refused to hear Smoger’s case to allow veterans to sue producers.  And Agent Orange producers’ immunity continued. Here are a few examples of reasons why manufacturers should be denied immunity:

  1. 2,4,5-T herbicide makers engaged in defective manufacturing of 2,4,5-T by cooking it at a high temperature when they knew that slow cooking would eliminate dioxin.
  2. Dioxin contaminated 2,4,5-T was not a new chemical, but had been produced since the 1940′s, so it was not created specifically for government purposes.
  3. The US government appears to have had no knowledge dioxin contamination or its hazards in 2,4,5-T, but the manufacturers did.

Spaulding vs. Monsanto | Immunity Denied

In a separate case, the Spauldings, former residents of Nitro, filed a lawsuit in a New York federal court against Monsanto for allegedly burning toxic dioxin waste in open fire pits. In late 2011, Judge Paul Gardephe denied Monsanto’s request for summary judgement for its government contractor immunity defense because Monsanto failed to prove that the government was aware and sanctioned Monsanto’s open pit burning of dioxin waste in Nitro.

This case has some promise because the judge appears to be aware of limits to immunity. Stuart Calwell, the attorney in the Nitro case that was just settled is also representing the plaintiffs in this case.
[divider]

Conclusion

Property damage from dioxin contamination may be less difficult to prove than dioxin-related medical injuries. For instance, cancer can incubate in the body for decades, so it would be hard to prove that dioxin exposure was the direct cause of the cancer.

However, the judges in the West Virginia court case deemed civil engineer Robert Carr’s testimony inadmissible and blocked it, using the excuse that the cost for cleanup was too speculative as it ranged between $945,000 to $3.9 billion. The wide range is due to factors like how much property would be remedied and the level of cleanup, that may include incinerating contaminated soil in a kiln. The judges should have allowed a jury to determine those facts. Dioxin is not safe at any level, so costs could skyrocket easily.

Additionally, the judges decertified the property damage cases, which means that each plaintiff must sue individually, instead of as a group in a class action suit. Lawsuits of this nature can cost upwards of $200,000, so individuals may be discouraged form suing. However, Monsanto just offered $9 million to clean some houses, so there appears to be merit to the property damage complaint.

People can sue individually under one lawyer (not a class action suit) to defray legal costs. An environmental attorney advised that these people may also sue for negligence, nuisance, trespass and battery. If punitive damages were awarded, 900% over the cost of the damage could be assessed against Monsanto.

The case settled without any finding of wrongdoing by Monsanto. This is appears to be the reason why they agreed to the settlement — to avoid accountability and punitive damage charges. The $93 million is chump change for Monsanto an will barely affect their share prices. Monsanto has now set a precedent for settling claims, and hopefully some good attorneys will seize the opportunity in order to hold Monsanto accountable.
[divider]

By Cassandra Anderson | NaturalSociety

Find us here

Get news from the CSGLOBE in your inbox each weekday morning

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors/source and do not necessarily reflect the position of CSGLOBE or its staff.

Paid content

Be Advised! Aspartame Changed its Name to AminoSweet

Aspartame has been renamed -  AminoSweet - and is now being marketed as a natural sweetener Aspartame, the artificial sweetener linked to cancer, heart palpitations,...

Processed Food Hurts Your Immune System

Bingeing on fast food leaves a scar etched in your DNA which is passed down to your children, study finds Poor dietary habits get passed...

Corporations Have Renamed ‘High Fructose Corn Syrup’

Big Food is at it again, hiding ingredients they know we really don’t want to consume in their products. This time it’s the presence...

What's New Today

Georgia House Votes To Allow Citizens To Abolish Police Departments In The State

The Georgia House backed an effort on Friday to dissolve the Glynn County Police Department and any...

Leaked CDC document contradicts Pence claim that U.S. coronavirus cases ‘have stabilized’

Even as Vice President Mike Pence wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday that coronavirus...

Five bombshells about Trump from Bolton ‘s book

Excerpts from former national security adviser John Bolton ’s book about his time in the Trump administration...

Don’t Listen to Fox. Here’s What’s Really Going On in Seattle’s Protest Zone.

It seems I live in a city undergoing a “totalitarian takeover” that will lead to “fascist outcomes”...

MOST READ

Ancient Paintings of UFO’s from 200 to 15.000 years ago

Ancient Paintings of UFO's Over the past 15,000 years UFOs have been clearly depicted in paintings from all around the world. This video features some...

Out of the Blue

OUT OF THE BLUE is widely considered one of the best documentary films ever made about UFOs and was directed by celebrated filmmakers James...

What Is Agenda 21? Depopulation of 95% of the World By 2030

Most people are unaware that one of the greatest threats to their freedom may be a United Nations program which plans to depopulate 95%...

Be Advised! Aspartame Changed its Name to AminoSweet

Aspartame has been renamed -  AminoSweet - and is now being marketed as a natural sweetener Aspartame, the artificial sweetener linked to cancer, heart palpitations,...

Poor sleep? This is a wake-up call for you!

ADDICTION to technology, early-morning boot camps, shift-work and longer commutes are being blamed for a deterioration in quality sleep. 'I’ll sleep when I’m dead,' goes...

The importance of vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency symptoms explained: the top 9 warning signs The importance of vitamin D is well known. As far back as the 1930s, doctors...

Cancer: 5 Ways To Beat It

Today more and more individuals are diagnosed with some type of cancer. But aren’t we all programmed to think: “This could never happen to me.” And yet...

‘Not a hell of a lot we can do’: NASA scientist warns Earth vulnerable to ‘sneaky’ asteroid, comet

Earth is essentially defenseless in the face of comets and asteroids that bring little warning, a NASA scientist has warned. The researcher believes building...

CIA releases X-files on aliens, flying saucers ‘for Agent Mulder to use’

The day has finally come for all UFO lovers and those who still believe ‘the truth is out there’. The CIA has released thousands of...

Italy Ban Monsanto’s GMO Corn

Italy Becomes the 9th EU Nation To Ban Monsanto’s GMO Corn The Italians are on to something big that could cause a ripple effect throughout...

Sugar is as dangerous as alcohol and tobacco

Doctors Warn Sugar Health Risk as Bad as Tobacco And Alcohol Britain's obesity crisis could be reversed within five years if food companies reduced sugar...