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Putnam judge approves Monsanto settlement

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A Putnam County Circuit Court judge approved a settlement reached in the massive Monsanto Co. Case seeking medical monitoring, authorities recently confirmed.

Plant workers and thousands of West Virginia residents filed the suit in 2004 against Monsanto, Pharmacia Corp., Akzo Nobel Chemicals Inc., Akzo Chemicals Inc., Flexsys America Co., Flexsys America LP, Flexsys International LP and Flexsys International Co.

The workers and residents alleged herbicides Monsanto manufactured at its Nitro chemical plant between 1948 and 1969 created dioxin as a byproduct. That dioxin was released into the air when waste material was burned at the old Monsanto plant, the lawsuit alleged.

In February 2012, the company and the residents reached a potential $93 million settlement, which was preliminary approved. Terms of the settlement resolved all claims in pending litigation, as well as the class action suit.

At the time of the preliminary settlement, Presiding Circuit Judge Derek Swope also noted all personal injury cases filed by Charleston-based The Calwell Practice involving Monsanto have been settled.

Parties agreed to provide a 30-year medical monitoring program at a local hospital. Preliminary funds of $21 million will pay for medical testing, and if certain conditions are met, $63 million in additional funds will go for 30 years worth of medical screenings.

The settlement also granted $9 million as part of a program to offer free cleaning of affected homes. Authorities estimate there are 4,500 homes in the remediation area.