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DuPont Co.

Dover, DE: (May-06-07) Two lawsuits filed against the DuPont Co. claimed that the fungicide Benlate caused birth defects in children. The lawsuits was filed in 1997 on behalf of children in Britain and New Zealand who were born without eyes or with abnormally small eyes, and defects. The lawsuit reached a settlement according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The plaintiffs alleged that the birth defects were the result of the children being exposed in the womb to Benlate. According to DuPont, the settlement involves not only the six families named as plaintiffs in the lawsuits, but 26 other claimants. The settlement comes after the Delaware Supreme Court in 2006 upheld a lower court ruling granting DuPont summary judgment in a third lawsuit after rejecting opinions offered by two expert witnesses for the plaintiffs as inadmissible. In the settlement reached, DuPont agreed to pay $9 million to settle claims. DuPont, which began manufacturing Benlate in the 1950s, decided to halt production in 2001 in the face of mounting crop damage claims. The company has paid more than $1 billion in settlements and legal fees on claims of damage from Benlate, including a recent $30 million settlement with six Hawaii plant nursery operators. [MARKET WATCH: BENLATE BIRTH DEFECTS]

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Published on May-7-07


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