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Monsanto, Nitro Residents Reach Settlements Of All Lawsuits In West Virginia

Monsanto Co. (MON) announced that Putnam Circuit Court Judge Derek Swope granted preliminary approval to comprehensive settlements agreed to by Monsanto and The Calwell Practice PLLC that resolve all claims in all pending litigation as well as all class actions filed in West Virginia.

The litigation, including the pending class action suits relate specifically to a chemical plant once located in Nitro, West Virginia and activities which took place 40 to 60 years ago.

The parties have agreed that a thirty-year medical monitoring program will be established at a local hospital. Thousands of persons who lived, worked, or attended school in the Nitro area during the period of time covered by the lawsuit will be eligible to apply for benefits. The plan will be supported by a primary fund of $21 million dollars which will pay for medical testing of eligible class members. Up to $63 million dollars in additional funding will be available over the thirty-year life of the medical screening program.

In addition to the direct benefits these agreements will provide to the residents of the Nitro area, Monsanto said that it has agreed to pay Court approved legal fees and litigation costs incurred by Class Counsel over the last seven years.

Monsanto noted that this settlement will allow it to maintain its focus on its global agriculture business and its commitment of investing in improved seed products for farmers throughout the world. Monsanto indicated that, for fiscal year 2012, the settlement will not affect ongoing earnings per share but the one-time expense will reduce as-reported earnings per share by approximately $0.05.

The Nitro, West Virginia plant was formerly owned and operated by Pharmacia and later by Flexsys, a joint venture between Solutia and Akzo Nobel Chemicals, Inc. The Nitro plant operated between 1929 and 2004. Monsanto Company was spun-out from Pharmacia in 2000 and assumed certain obligations related to Solutia's former chemical business, including the Nitro claims being settled. The settlement made no findings of wrongdoing against Monsanto or any of the entities that previously owned or operated the site including Solutia.

by RTT Staff Writer

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