REFUSING TO CALL IT A SETTLEMENT, DuPONT BUYS OUT OF RHODE ISLAND LEAD PAINT CASE FOR $12.5 MILLION IN CHARITABLE DONATIONS

For six years, the state of Rhode Island has aggressively pursued DuPont Co., and six other companies that formerly manufactured lead pigment paint, for their role in creating a public crisis involving an estimated 36,000 children with unacceptably high levels of the metal.

In 2002, a trial involving the same defendants resulted in a hung jury. The case is presently scheduled to go to trial for a second time in about three months. Besides DuPont Co., the state is suing Con Agra Inc., Atlantic Richfield Co., Millennium Holdings LLC, NL Industries Inc., Sherwin Williams Co., and American Cyanamid Co.

Now, breaking ranks with its codefendants, DuPont has agreed to pay $12.5 million to several charities in order to buy its peace in the case. While specifically stating that this figure did not represent a settlement, DuPont will make donations to the Children’s Health Forum, Brown University School of Medicine, or the Dana-Farber Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center. More than $11 million will go toward education, compliance, and abatement of contaminated homes in Rhode Island.

The remaining defendants have so far been unwilling to settle the claims made by the state. Since Rhode Island became the first government body to bring this type of lawsuit, several other cities have commenced similar actions.

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