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Monsanto settlement would provide for medical monitoring

A comprehensive settlement agreement in a class-action lawsuit against Monsanto Co. was given preliminary approval on Friday by Putnam Circuit Court Judge Derek Swope.

Key features of the agreement:

* Establishment of a 30-year medical monitoring program at a local hospital for thousands of persons who lived, worked, or attended school in the Nitro area during the period of time covered by the lawsuit. A primary fund of $21 million would pay for medical testing of eligible class members and up to $63 million in additional funding would be available over the 30-year life of the program.

* Creation of a program to offer free professional cleaning of homes of eligible class members in the Nitro area. Up to $9 million would be set aside for this purpose.

The settlement agreement would resolve all claims in all pending litigation as well as all class actions filed in West Virginia.

The mass-litigation involves hundreds of cases of alleged personal injury due to chemical emissions and contamination from Monsanto's Nitro plant from 1948 to the present. The lawsuit alleges Monsanto unsafely dispersed dioxin, exposing residential properties and streams to unsafe levels of the toxic chemical.

Judge Swope will now fully review the settlement to ensure fairness.


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