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Federal judge allows lawsuit against DuPont spinoff companies to continue

City argues PFAs in firefighting foam contaminated drinking water
City argues PFAs in firefighting foam contaminated drinking water
Published: Mar. 14, 2022 at 4:52 PM EDT
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STUART, FL (WECT) - Residents in southeastern North Carolina aren’t the only ones worried they’ve been poisoned by chemicals coming from DuPont spinoff companies. There are thousands of plaintiffs across the country who have filed suit against companies like Chemours, trying to hold them responsible for contaminating their drinking water.

A federal judge in Charleston, SC, just denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by New DuPont and Corteva — two DuPont spinoff companies similar to Chemours. The companies were attempting to have lawsuits against them thrown out, arguing the courts didn’t have jurisdiction because their companies are based in Delaware, not Florida where they are accused of contaminating the drinking water.

The City of Stuart, Florida is suing companies connected to DuPont that manufactured firefighting foam used by their fire department. The plaintiffs allege the foam contaminated the city’s drinking water, and that the manufacturers failed to warn them about the hazard.

New DuPont and Corteva also argued that Chemours assumed liability for DuPont’s long history of alleged pollution, so they should not also be liable. United States District Judge Richard Gergel also denied that attempt by New DuPont and Corteva to get out of the lawsuit.

“Chemours’s contractual assumption of Old DuPont’s liability in 2015 does not turn off the spigot of Old DuPont’s forum contacts, and therefore jurisdictional ties for New DuPont and Corteva, if Old DuPont entered into the Chemours contract fraudulently to escape liability,” Gergel wrote in his March 10th decision.

This is a separate lawsuit from the one filed in North Carolina connected to pollution in the Cape Fear River, but the issues at hand are similar. Judge Gergel’s decision allowing the lawsuit to continue could be an indicator of how things will play out in the lawsuit the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority has filed against Chemours if similar tactics are used to defend the company.

WECT reached out to Chemours and Cape Fear Utility Authority for comment, and will update this story with any response they provide.

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