Shelby, Roden & Cartee Announce Solutia, Monsanto and Pharmacia Settle PCB Anniston Cases for $700 Million

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.--()--Aug. 20, 2003--

  Environmental-Medical Clinic & Research Facility to be Founded in Anniston  

Today parties entered into a global settlement of $700 million for damages related to polychlorinated biphenyl ("PCB") contamination that occurred over decades in Anniston, Alabama, Shelby, Roden & Cartee announce. The settled claims include those in the Alabama federal district court case, Tolbert v. Monsanto Co., et al., CV 01-1407-S, and the state court case, Abernathy v. Monsanto Co., et al., CV-2001-832. Solutia and Monsanto Company have agreed to pay damages and fund community improvement programs after extended negotiations with the attorneys representing the more than 20,000 current and former Anniston residents in those two suits.

Internal company documents of the defendants dating back to the 1930's were discovered by lead trial counsel, Robert Roden. According to Roden, these documents revealed that the company was aware of the health hazards of PCBs for decades and failed to warn of the hazards. Despite this knowledge, defendants allowed the PCBs to be released into the air, waterways and food chain of the Anniston residents. Roden was also able to prove that the company hid data from the government departments of environmental management and discovered documents that altered the medical research findings of the hazards of PCBs.

"Today is a positive turning point in the history of Anniston. After almost a century of contamination, the people of Anniston are now best able to truly work with the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal government entities and responsible parties to clean up polluted land, have access to specialized medical treatment that addresses exposure to toxins, and rebuild for healthy businesses, educational systems and residences," said David Shelby, managing partner of plaintiffs' law firm Shelby, Roden and Cartee.

Litigation over the PCB contamination began in 1996, with several lawsuits filed in state and federal court in Alabama as a result of Monsanto's pollution in Anniston. Chief District Judge U.W. Clemon ordered parties to mediate the Tolbert case earlier this year. Judge Clemon also recently approved the entry of a consent decree among Solutia, Pharmacia, the EPA and the Justice Department to provide a framework for completing the clean up of the PCB contamination in Anniston. See http://www.epa.gov/region4/waste/npl/nplal/annpcbal.htm. To ensure that the clean up is administered properly, the agreement also includes the designation of a Technical Special Master (TSM) to advise the court on implementing the technical aspects of the Partial Consent Decree entered in United States v. Pharmacia, et al., CV 02-C-0749-E (N.D. Ala.).

Today's settlement includes funding for five specific areas:

-- An environmental-medical clinic and research facility to be located in Anniston and to include funding for certain free prescription medicines, health screenings, and a Pfizer Share prescription drug program;

-- An education trust fund;

-- Community revitalization and business redevelopment for the impacted area;

-- Clean-up and remediation of contaminated land; and,

-- Cash compensation for victims.

Brief History of PCBs

Compiled from the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee Special Hearing on Anniston, Alabama, held April 19, 2002 DOCID: f: 81528.wais

Monsanto invented polychlorinated biphenyls, PCBs, at their chemical plant in Anniston, Alabama, in 1929. One of the most pervasive and profitable industrial chemicals of the 20th century, PCBs were used as insulators in electric transformers and mixed into a variety of products from paint to newsprint. Monsanto manufactured PCBs for world-wide distribution from the Anniston, Alabama plant and one other facility in Illinois from the 1930s to the mid 1970s.

PCBs were found to be highly toxic and hazardous to humans and the environment. In the 1930s, Monsanto found that PCBs caused skin and liver disorders. In 1969, Monsanto concluded that PCBs were a global environmental contaminant that would lead to contamination of human food, the killing of marine species, and the possible extinction of several species of fish eating birds.

History of Contamination

Compiled from the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee Special Hearing on Anniston, Alabama, held April 19, 2002 DOCID: f: 81528.wais

During the more than 40 years that PCBs were produced at the Anniston plant, Monsanto routinely dumped excess PCBs and acid containing PCBs into the plant's sewer system, which discharged directly into open ditches and creeks that carried PCBs to surrounding rivers and lakes. The substances were also routinely dumped into crude, unlined landfills located on the Monsanto property in Anniston. The company's irresponsible activity took place for decades without corrective action and result in continued contamination of surrounding land and waterways covering miles. Today, PCB contamination is found in waterways up to 40 miles from the Anniston plant.

Because of their toxicity and hazardous nature, PCBs were banned by the federal government in 1979. In a CBS broadcast of 60 Minutes, entitled "Toxic Town" on November 10, 2002, Anniston was described: "Imagine a place so saturated with toxic, cancer-causing chemicals that it's in the dirt people walk on, in the air that they breathe, even in the blood that pumps through their veins. The 24,000 people in Anniston, Alabama, don't have to imagine this; many of them are living it."

Lawyers representing the plaintiffs in Abernathy, et al v. Monsanto, et al. were Donald Stewart of Anniston and Dan Benson of New York. The Anniston plaintiffs in the Tolbert case were represented by the law firms of Shelby, Roden & Cartee; Davis & Norris, LLP; Jere Beasley and Johnny Cochran.

For more information about the history of PCBs in Anniston, see www.communityagainstpollution.org. Shelby, Roden and Cartee is a Birmingham, Alabama based law firm specializing in plaintiff litigation.

For more information about the litigation in these cases, contact: David Shelby at O: 205-933-8383 or H: 205-251-0200 or Robert Roden at O: (205) 933-8383 or H: (205) 410-9817.

Contacts

Shelby, Roden & Cartee
David Shelby, O: 205-933-8383 or H: 205-251-0200
or
Robert Roden, O: 205-933-8383 or H: 205-410-9817

Contacts

Shelby, Roden & Cartee
David Shelby, O: 205-933-8383 or H: 205-251-0200
or
Robert Roden, O: 205-933-8383 or H: 205-410-9817