On March 26, 2024, the Court overseeing the $1.185 Billion public water class settlement with DuPont received declarations from the Special Master concerning parties opting out of the settlement. Unique procedures apply to class settlements. A class settlement settles all damage claims for all class members unless they “opt-out” of the settlement agreement. Courts set procedures to opt-out. A party’s failure to follow those procedures may result in the opt-out being legally ineffective.

What Did the Special Master Determine?

The Special Master identified water providers it believes failed to comply with the Court’s procedures for opting out of the settlement. The Court’s decision of this issue will impact whether or not these water providers have settled all issues or may continue to seek a remedy through litigation against DuPont.

The Court’s Decision

In response, the court has adopted specific procedures for filing objections to the Special Master’s determinations regarding compliance or non-compliance with the opt-out provisions of the Settlement Agreement with DuPont. These procedures aim to ensure a fair and transparent process for all involved parties. Here are the key steps outlined in the court’s order:

  1. Notification to Public Water Systems (PWS): The Special Master will promptly notify Public Water Systems identified as submitting non-compliant opt-out forms. This notification will include a copy of the court’s order outlining the procedure for challenging the Special Master’s findings.
  2. Objections by Non-Compliant PWS: PWS may file a written objection within 15 days of receiving the notice of non-compliance. These objections must detail the basis of the objection and may include relevant documents. Class Counsel and Defendant can respond to objections within 15 days of their filing.
  3. Objections by Settlement Agreement Parties: Any party to the Settlement Agreement may file objections within 15 days of the court’s order regarding PWS deemed compliant with the opt-out provisions.
  4. Filing of Objections and Responses: The parties must file all objections and responses with the court and copies provided to Class Counsel, Defendant, the Special Master, and any involved PWS in accordance with the Settlement Agreement.
  5. Review by the Special Master: The Special Master will review all objections and responses and issue a written decision expeditiously. Dissatisfied parties may file an appeal to the court.

Protecting the DuPont Class Settlement

The Court ordered these procedures to provide the parties a clear path for resolving whether a class member has failed to properly opt-out. The Court explained that the aim of these procedures is to uphold the integrity of the Settlement Agreement and ensure that all parties involved have a fair opportunity to address any concerns regarding opt-out determinations.

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After reviewing your medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages, we can help you understand what your case is worth and plan a road map going forward.
After reviewing your medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages, we can help you understand what your case is worth and plan a road map going forward.

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If you think you may have a claim and need legal help to hold those parties responsible for damage that they have caused, contact an attorney from our firm.

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