In a specially convened meeting on Thursday, November 30, the Salina City Commission deliberated on Resolution 23-8176, seeking approval for the City to opt out of the settlement class in both the Dupont and 3M Aqueous Film-Forming Foams Product Liability Litigation cases. The resolution also empowers the Vice-Mayor, City staff, and legal counsel to execute any necessary documentation for the opt-out process.
The City of Salina finds itself included in the settlement class of two cases pending in the United States District Court, District of South Carolina, Charleston Division, related to Aqueous Film-Forming Foams Product Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2:18-mn-02873). The cases are as follows:
- City of Camden, et al., v. E.I. Dupont de Nemours and Company, et al., No. 2:23-cv-03230-RMG
- City of Camden, et al., v. 3M Company, No. 2:23-cv-03147-RMG
The settlement classes encompass all U.S. water systems subject to the monitoring rules outlined in the U.S. EPA's Fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule ("UCMR 5") as of June 30, 2023. This includes both "large" systems serving over 10,000 people and "small" systems catering to populations between 3,300 and 10,000. The proposed settlement amount from Dupont is $1.185B, and 3M's settlement amount is $12.5B. The City of Salina is classified as a Phase One Settlement Class Member.
To claim a share of the settlement amount, Phase 1 Class Members must file a claim with supporting test results within 60 days of the Settlement Agreement's effective date (5 days post final judgment). Members of the class are bound by the Settlement Agreement terms, whether or not they submit a claim.
Members of the settlement class have the option to opt out by submitting a written and signed "Request for Exclusion" to the Notice Administrator, Special Master, Claims Administrator, and related parties. The request, sent via certified mail, must reach the Claims Administrator in the Dupont case by December 4, 2023, and by December 11, 2023, in the 3M case.
Upon a thorough review of the Settlement Agreement, especially the "Release" provisions, and the requirements for asserting a claim, City staff and legal counsel recommend that the City's long-term interests are best served by opting out of the settlement class in both cases. Of particular concern are the Release terms, given the City's obligations under the Consent Decree for the Former Schilling Air Force Base environmental remediation.
The motion to approve the opt-out was unanimously passed with a 5-0 vote.