Less than a month after taking ownership of the former DuPont facilities, INVISTA discovered significant environmental noncompliance at the plants. INVISTA has filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking damages to the tune of US$800 mln and a court order requiring DuPont to fulfill its contractual obligations arising from safety and environmental noncompliance when DuPont owned some INVISTA sites. The lawsuit describes widespread and substantial noncompliance that occurred at the manufacturing facilities during DuPont´s ownership and seeks compensatory damages in excess of $800 million, plus punitive damages.
DuPont failed to comply with environmental and health and safety laws and regulations, meet permit obligations, and take other actions to protect its employees, the community and the environment prior to selling these assets. Since acquiring the facilities, INVISTA will have to spend a substantial amount to remedy DuPont´s noncompliance, exceeding the amount DuPont claims to have spent on the assets prior to the sale. As outlined in the lawsuit, INVISTA has spent approximately US$140 mln to uncover, report, and correct DuPont´s safety and environmental violations. Additional capital expenditures currently estimated in the range of US$300 mln to US$450 mln will be required in a nearly final agreement between INVISTA and U.S. federal and state authorities which will require the installation of pollution control systems at the former DuPont facilities in the United States. These required projects will also increase future annual operating costs at the facilities, and those increased costs are included in the claim. Former DuPont plants outside the United States also require additional capital expenditures to correct DuPont´s noncompliance.
INVISTA is also seeking punitive damages from DuPont because DuPont knew of several of the more dangerous safety and environmental violations, knew those violations placed its employees and the public at risk, took no action to rectify them, and failed to disclose them to INVISTA. As specified in the April 30, 2004, purchase and sale agreement, DuPont is responsible for costs associated with correcting noncompliance that existed while it owned these sites. The lawsuit describes more than three years of DuPont consistently refusing to fulfill these obligations.