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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Lawsuit about?

Answer:

Certain persons owning residential property in and around Nitro, West Virginia filed a lawsuit in 2004 in West Virginia state court alleging that their property and persons were contaminated by dioxins released at Monsanto Company's Nitro Plant located in Nitro, West Virginia, which is no longer operational (the "Plant"). Specifically, Plaintiffs in the lawsuit allege that waste disposal practices at the Plant between 1948 and 1969 resulted in widespread dioxin contamination in the Class Area. The Defendants deny that any such contamination occurred. Nonetheless, the Parties to the lawsuit have reached a Settlement. As part of that Settlement, the Parties are required to notify certain affected person (i.e., the Property Class) of the Settlement, their right to participate in the Property Program established under the Settlement, if it is approved by the Court, and their right to object to the Settlement.

The Class Notice explains the lawsuit, the Settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who is eligible for them, and how to get them.

The Court in charge of this case directed that this Class Notice be provided to you because you have a right to know about a proposed Settlement of the Property Class before the Court decides whether to issue final approval of the Settlement. The Notice provides details on what options you have in response to this Settlement, and how to claim benefits provided by the Settlement.

What is a Class Action?

Answer:

In a class action, one or more people called "Class Representatives" sue on behalf of a group of people with similar claims. All of these people together are called the "Class" or "Class Members." One Court resolves the issues for all Class Members.

Why is there a Settlement?

Answer:

A Settlement is not an admission of any wrong doing by the Defendants. The Court or a jury did not make any decision in favor of the Plaintiffs or the Defendants. Instead, the two sides agreed to settle. By settling, they both avoid the risks, delays, and costs of a trial, and the Property Class Members will get what they sued for: Property clean-up paid for by the Defendants. The Parties in the case and their attorneys believe this Settlement is the best option for everyone in the Property Class.

Overview of the Property Program.

Answer:

As part of the Settlement, Defendants have agreed to fund a Property Program. The Defendants have agreed to pay as much as $9,000,000 to fund the Program, which will last three years. The Property Program is designed to clean accessible horizontal surfaces in the interior of eligible residential properties. If your property is eligible you will be entitled to receive, free of charge, the following services to be performed by property cleanup specialists: (a) vacuuming carpets, rugs and accessible horizontal surfaces with a HEPA vacuum; and (b) wet cleaning the following accessible horizontal surfaces: floors and floor vents, tops of doors and window moldings, window mullions, interior window sills, window troughs (if accessible), ceiling fans and light fixtures and radiators. The cleanup targets easily accessible areas in living spaces and as such will not extend to attics, garages, utility rooms, outbuildings, utility sheds, closets, internal shelving, and drawers in furniture and cabinets. Objects sitting on top of accessible surfaces will need to be removed by you prior to cleaning.

The Program is not being offered because the residences in the Cleanup Area have a documented dioxin problem. To the contrary, analyses of indoor dust samples taken from living spaces of area residences have shown levels on average substantially below the USEPA Soil Guideline of 1000 ppt. According to the USEPA, dioxin is found almost everywhere, and has many commonplace sources, such as automobile exhaust, fireplaces, backyard barrel burning, cigarettes, municipal and medical waste incineration and the like. Also, testing performed on residential soils in the area has shown no human health or environmental threat. Accordingly, soil cleanup is not included in the Property Program.

The details of the clean-up procedures under the Property Agreement are included in a document entitled Standard Operating Procedure: Removing Dust from Homes which is Exhibit D to the Property Class Settlement Agreement preliminarily approved by the Court. This document is available on this website.

How do I participate in the Property Program?

Answer:

To participate in the Property Program established under the Settlement you must first fill out a Questionnaire provided by the Settlement Administrator and provide documentation as required. The Settlement Administrator will carefully review your Questionnaire and determine whether your property is eligible. To obtain the Questionnaire, you can visit the Settlement Administrators office located at 2302 1st Avenue, Nitro, WV 25143, and this website will contain helpful information and Questionnaires. To participate in the Property Program, all Questionnaires must be completed and turned in during the initial Registration Period, which will begin on July 8, 2014 and end on October 31, 2014.

When will the Property Clean-up Program begin?

Answer:

Property determined to be eligible will be scheduled for clean-up on a first-come, first-served basis by the company retained by the Defendants to perform the clean-up, Foth Infrastructure & Environment, LLC (“Foth”), in cooperation with the Administrator. The Administrator will have the right to make groupings of residences to be cleaned so that the process is more efficient. Under the terms of the Property Class Settlement Agreement it may take up to three years for all the eligible residences to be cleaned.

What is a Release of Claims against Defendants?

Answer:

If you are a qualified member of the Property Class and do not opt out of the Class, Final Approval by the Court of the Settlement will result in the dismissal of all property claims you may have against the Defendants. In return for the dismissal of all claims Defendants have agreed to fund the Property Program.

Who are the Lawyers representing you?

Answer:

The Court previously ordered that W. Stuart Calwell, Jr., Esquire, of the Calwell Practice, Pllc, will represent you and the other Class Members. This lawyer and the law firm are called Class Counsel. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

How will Class Counsel be paid?

Answer:

The amount of attorneys fees and costs awarded to Class Counsel by the Court are separate and apart from any benefits made available to the Property Class and will not affect in any way the Settlement benefits to which you are entitled.

If I am eligible to participate in the program, how long will it take to clean my house?

Answer:

Foth is expecting the cleanup to take no more than 4 hours to clean each residence. 

Will I need to leave my house while my house in being cleaned?

Answer:

No. We would greatly prefer that you are present at the residence, but not in the room being cleaned.

Where do my pets stay when my home is being cleaned?

Answer:

We would expect the resident to secure their pet in a room not being cleaned or on a leash in an area that is not being cleaned.

If you have determined that my house needs to be cleaned, is it unsafe to live there while it is being cleaned?

Answer:

It is completely safe and recommended that you be present when your home is scheduled to be cleaned. All cleaning methods that will be used will only remove any dust that is available. The dust will be removed by wet methods on hard surfaces and by HEPA vacuums on porous surfaces. The HEPA filters remove dust particles down to the lowest levels possible before the air is discharged back into the room. Please see Exhibit D to the Property Program Settlement Agreement for further information regarding the cleaning procedure.
 

Disclaimer

Please do not contact Monsanto Company or the Court about this Settlement. Any and all callers will be directed to this website. If you have questions, please refer to the information posted here.
This site is not operated by Monsanto Company. This class action settlement is supervised by the Court which directed that information about the settlement be provided through this website.

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