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Invista settles lawsuit with DuPont over alleged environmental hazards

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, June 29, 2012, at 12:34 p.m.
  • Updated Saturday, June 30, 2012, at 8:17 a.m.

Invista, a unit of Koch Industries, announced Friday that it settled its lawsuit against DuPont, which Invista claimed had not paid, as promised, to correct environmental and safety hazards that existed when DuPont sold its fibers and resins business to Invista in 2004.

Terms of the settlement were not released.

According to a statement released jointly by the companies, neither would have any comment beyond the supplied statement.

“DuPont is an important supplier and a customer, as well as a tenant or landlord to Invista in several locations in which we operate,” said Ray Geoffroy, vice president and general counsel for Invista in the statement. “We are pleased the parties were able resolve the case, and we look forward to working together as both companies focus on innovation and creating value for our respective customers.”

The trial started June 4 and was expected to run six to eight weeks, but was halted when the settlement was announced.

Invista purchased DuPont’s fibers and resins business for about $4.4 billion on April 30, 2004. In its lawsuit, Invista contended that within weeks it discovered serious environmental hazards at one of the Texas plants and soon after found out that DuPont had known about the hazards and covered them up.

Eventually, Invista said it found an extensive number of violations at multiple locations. It reported them to Texas environmental authorities and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It reached a consent decree with the government on how to clean up the plants in 2009.

Invista said in court documents that the cleanup cost more than $600 million. The lawsuit, filed in 2008, sought about $800 million for actual costs and punitive damages.

In its pre-trial brief, DuPont said that Invista conducted extensive due diligence on the properties before the sale, understood what it was buying, and closed the deal with the intention of suing.

Invista was seeking a “windfall” from DuPont to not only repair the plants, but further upgrade and expand them, according to the filing.

Reach Dan Voorhis at 316-268-6577 or dvoorhis@wichitaeagle.com.

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