In Re: Monsanto Class Action Settlement

City of Long Beach, et al. v. Monsanto Company, et al.

United States District Court, Central District of California - Western Division

Case No. 2:16-cv-03493-FMO-AS

This proposed Class Action Settlement impacts all NPDES Phase I and II city, town, village, borough, township, and independent port district MS4 permittees with jurisdictional boundaries within a HUC 12 Watershed that contains and/or is immediately adjoining a 303(d) water body impaired by PCBs and all NPDES Phase I and II county MS4 permittees with urbanized, unincorporated boundaries within a HUC 12 Watershed that contains and/or is immediately adjoining a 303(d) water body impaired by PCBs, as of June 24, 2020 only, but not later.

Important Dates

March 14, 2022 - Date of Entry of Order Certifying Settlement Class, Preliminarily Approving Class Action Settlement, Approving Notice Plan, Appointing Class Action Settlement Administrator, and Appointing Class Counsel.
65 days after the Final Approval Order - Deadline to submit Sediment Sites Application.
65 days after the Final Approval Order - Deadline to submit Special Needs Fund, Part A Application.
1 year and 14 days after the Settlement Administrator’s mailing of Monitoring Fund Payments - Deadline to submit Special Needs Fund, Part B Application.
July 25, 2022 - All opt-outs must be postmarked and mailed to the Settlement Administrator.
July 25, 2022 - Any objections must be hand-delivered or postmarked and mailed to the Court and hand-delivered or postmarked and mailed to Class Counsel and Defendant's Counsel.
September 15, 2022 - Any notices of appearances and motions must be hand-delivered or postmarked and mailed to the Court and hand-delivered or postmarked and mailed to Class Counsel and Defendant’s Counsel.
September 15, 2022 - Any other motions or submissions concerning the Action of the Settlement must be properly filed with supporting documents with the Clerk of the Court and must be mailed or personally delivered to Class Counsel and Counsel for the Defendant.
September 1, 2022 - Deadline for Plaintiffs’ Motion For Final Approval.
October 13, 2022 - Court Approval Hearing in the United States District Court, Central District of California – Western Division.

Plaintiffs City of Long Beach, Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, City of Berkeley, City of Chula Vista, County of Los Angeles, City of Oakland, City of Portland, Port of Portland, City of San Diego, City of San Jose, and City of Spokane filed lawsuits against Defendant in district courts in their respective jurisdictions. In their complaints, Plaintiffs asserted that Defendant manufactured a class of industrial chemicals called polychlorinated biphenyls (“PCBs”) between the 1930s and 1977 and stated various causes of action against Defendant for alleged PCB-related impairments to the environment, including to water bodies. Plaintiffs alleged that PCBs are present at sites and public properties, including in stormwater, stormwater and wastewater systems, water bodies, sediment, natural resources, fish and wildlife. Plaintiffs sought compensatory damages and injunctive and equitable relief.

On March 14, 2022, the Court entered an order certifying the Action as a class action, and specifically certifying a Nationwide Class. If you received a Notice of Pendency of Class-Action Proposed Settlement and Court-Approved Hearing (the “Notice”) in the mail, then you have been identified as an Initial Settlement Class Member according to the parties’ records.

The claims certified for class-action treatment include claims that Monsanto’s PCBs and PCB-containing products were defectively designed, that the risks of environmental harm associated with PCBs and PCB-containing products outweighed the benefits of their uses, that Monsanto failed to warn of the risks of harm associated with PCBs and PCB-containing products, and that Plaintiffs and the Settlement Class Members suffered property damage as a result of PCB contamination.

In the Class Action Settlement Agreement between the parties, Monsanto has agreed to pay up to five hundred and fifty million dollars ($550,000,000) as the total and maximum dollar amount Monsanto will be obligated to pay as a net class benefit if the Court grants final approval and all other contingencies are met. This amount includes all payments (i) to Settlement Class Members in exchange for the Release as described in the Notice, and (ii) to the Plaintiffs as class-representative awards.

Monsanto denies that class certification was or remains appropriate (except for purposes of the proposed settlement), denies that its PCBs and PCB-containing products were defectively designed, denies that the risks of environmental harm associated with PCBs and PCB-containing products outweigh their benefits, denies that it acted unlawfully, and asserts various legal and factual defenses against Plaintiffs' claims.

The parties reached a settlement before the Court resolved the claims and defenses of the parties in the Action. Therefore, the Court never resolved whether Monsanto did anything wrong. The Notice should not be understood as an expression of any opinion by the Court as to the merits of the Plaintiffs’ claims or Defendant’s defenses. Plaintiffs and Defendant recognize that to resolve these and other important issues would be time-consuming, uncertain, and expensive, which is part of the reason for the Settlement.

Each Settlement Class Member who has not excluded itself from the Class will be eligible to receive a settlement check(s) from the Class Action Settlement Administrator based on the Settlement Class Allocation method developed by Lead Class Counsel, the Special Master, and the Named Class Plaintiffs’ consulting experts, which has been approved by the Court as fair and reasonable.

The Settlement Amount will be allocated among four separate funds for Class Members. Any amount allocated to a Settlement Class Member in the Monitoring Fund or TMDL Fund that opts out of the Settlement, will be reallocated to Settlement Class Members pursuant to the Settlement Agreement. You may be eligible to receive a payment from one or more of these funds. You are required to apply to receive payment from certain funds.


SETTLEMENT FUNDS – DISTRIBUTION AND APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

MONITORING FUND
($42,895,000)

Every Settlement Class Member will receive a minimum payment from the Monitoring Fund as consideration for a Release. The funds are intended to pay for PCB sampling and/or any other mitigation efforts in the Settlement Class Member’s sole discretion, as part of compliance with applicable law.

The amount of Monitoring Fund payments are based on each Settlement Class Member’s NDPES Permittee status as Phase I or Phase II and each Settlement Class Member’s population as follows:

  1. Phase I ≥ 100,000 pop. and Phase I independent port districts: 68 x $32,024.47 = $2,177,663.96
  2. Phase I < 100,000 pop.: 68 x $22,024.47 = $1,497,663.96
  3. Phase II ≥ 100,000 pop. and Phase II independent port districts: 214 x $27,024.47 = $5,783,236.58
  4. Phase II < 100,000 pop.: 1,956 x $17,024.47 = $33,299,863.32

Monitoring Fund Partial Payments: TMDL Entities receiving TMDL Funds between fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) and one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) will receive a Monitoring Fund Partial Payment. The fourteen (14) TMDL Entities receiving a Monitoring Fund Partial Payment are identified HERE, for a total of $136,565.61.

Refer to the Class Action Settlement Agreement, Exhibit A – Initial Settlement Class Members for the MS4 NPDES Phase I or II by Population identification and Settlement Amount under the Monitoring Fund.

TMDL FUND
($250,000,000)

A Settlement Class Member will receive a payment from the TMDL Fund if the Settlement Class Member is subject to and/or responsible for a TMDL, TMDL Alternative, or TMDL Direct-to-Implementation regulation, promulgated or updated after January 1, 2010, wherein PCB is a named constituent. Not every Settlement Class Member is eligible to receive payment from the TMDL Fund.

Refer to the Class Action Settlement Agreement, Exhibit D – TMDL Fund Entities List with Allocation to determine if you are a TMDL Fund Entity and the TMDL Fund Allocation amount.

SEDIMENT SITES FUND
($150,000,000)

The Sediment Sites Fund will be allocated among Qualifying Sediment Site Entities identified in Paragraph 79(c) of the Settlement Agreement, other than any Opt-Out Litigating Entity, by a court-appointed Special Master. Not every Settlement Class Member is eligible to receive payment from the TMDL Fund.

A Settlement Class Member will receive a payment from the Sediment Sites Fund if the Settlement Class Member is a Noticed Party/Potentially Responsible Party or named Responsible Party in at least one of three types of regulated Sediment Sites wherein PCBs have contaminated sediments due to stormwater contribution. The three types of Sediments Sites include only the following: (1) U.S. EPA Superfund Sites, (2) U.S. EPA Large Sediment Sites, and/or (3) Clean Water Act Category 4b Sites/Waters.

Refer to the Notice for a list of Sediment Sites wherein at least one Initial Settlement Class Member is a Noticed Party/Potentially Responsible Party or named Responsible Party due to stormwater contribution of PCBs. Class Members who are eligible for Sediment Sites Fund payments are “Qualifying Sediment Site Entities” and must complete and submit the Sediment Sites Application within 65 days after the Final Approval Order.

SPECIAL NEEDS FUND,
PART A
($57,105,000)

Special Needs Fund, Part A will compensate and accommodate those Litigating Entities whose time, energy, effort, attorney work product, costs, expenses, and risk of litigation helped to cause the entire Class Settlement, for the benefit of all Initial Settlement Class Members.

Payment from Special Needs Fund, Part A is available only to those Initial Settlement Class Members that are “Litigating Entities,” i.e., Class Members that (1) have filed tort, public nuisance, and/or product liability lawsuits against Defendant for PCB contamination of stormwater and sediment, and/or (2) that are Named Class Members.

Refer to the Notice for a list of Litigating Entities and eligibility for payment from this Fund. Qualifying Litigating Entities must complete and submit the Special Needs Fund, Part A Application within 65 days after the Final Approval Order.

SPECIAL NEEDS FUND,
PART B
($50,000,000)

Special Needs Fund, Part B will compensate those Settlement Class Members who apply and make a showing, in the discretion of the Special Master, of a significant regional, state, or national benefit, cost, or contribution regarding 303(d) bodies of water impaired by PCBs through stormwater and/or dry weather runoff, and such benefit, cost, or contribution is not otherwise encompassed within any other part of the Settlement Allocation.

The Special Master will equitably and reasonably allocate Part B funds among only those Settlement Class Members who apply for funds. Settlement Class Members that do not timely return a completed application forfeit any right to Part B Funds. Application does not guarantee that the Special Master will allocate Part B Funds to the applicant. Some Part B applicants may not receive any Part B Funds.

Refer to the Notice for more information on applying for payment from this Fund. Applicants must complete and submit the Special Needs Fund, Part B Application within 1 year and 14 days after the Settlement Administrator’s mailing of Monitoring Fund payments.



DO NOT WRITE OR TELEPHONE THE COURT, THE CLERK'S OFFICE, OR DEFENDANT WITH ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS NOTICE, THE SETTLEMENT, OR THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT.