CFPUA sues DuPont and related companies to stop financial restructuring
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Cape Fear Public Utility Authority filed a lawsuit on Friday, March 24 to prevent Chemours, DuPont and related companies from restructuring to avoid liability for damage caused by PFAS at the Fayetteville Works plant.
The Chemours Fayetteville Works plant has been discharging PFAS into the Cape Fear for the past several years. The so-called “forever chemicals” have been linked to harmful health effects in people and animals, with the EPA proposing enforceable regulation on PFAS levels in the water earlier this month.
The suit filed in Delaware’s Court of Chancery says DuPont began facing increasing legal liability in 2013 due to the contamination and began restructuring. One of these actions was the creation of Chemours as a subsidiary that later turns into separate company to hold DuPont’s chemicals business, including the Fayetteville Works facility in Bladen County.
CFPUA spent $43 million to build the granular activated carbon (GAC) filters that are now treating much of the water in New Hanover County. This was paid for by the people and companies that are served by CFPUA.
CFPUA wants damages from DuPont, Chemours and other related companies without regard to the restructuring, and for the court to prevent restructuring and similar actions related to assets formerly owned by Chemours or DuPont.
This isn’t the first time DuPont has been criticized for its restructuring.
Late last year, the Supreme Court of North Carolina struck down DuPont’s attempted dismissal of the lawsuit filed by Attorney General Josh Stein. DuPont had tried to dismiss the lawsuit on jurisdictional grounds, claiming that it wasn’t liable because it is a holding company in Delaware and not North Carolina. The business court disagreed, the companies appealed and the state supreme court affirmed the business court’s decision.
Besides the transfer of the chemical business to Chemours, DuPont (officially known as E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company or EIDP) also merged with the Dow Chemical Company and reorganized under a holding company called “DuPont de Nemours.” The Supreme Court’s opinion says that DuPont de Nemours received a “substantial portion” of EIDP’s assets.
DuPont de Nemours created Dow, Inc. to hold the Dow Chemical Company as a subsidiary and Corteva to hold EIDP, and the Supreme Court says that EIDP moved its lines of business to other parts of DuPont de Nemours for less than they were worth. As with Chemours, Corteva was later spun off from DuPont de Nemours as a separate public company.
CFPUA’s lawsuit names EIDP, Corteva, DuPont De Nemours and Chemours. CFPUA’s suit adds to the pile of ongoing litigation with the companies, including lawsuits from the Environmental Protection Agency and AG Josh Stein.
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