DuPont, Koch's Invista settle environmental case

Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:20pm EDT

* Invista claimed misled on safety of plants

* DuPont claimed Invista violated contract's terms

* Invista, Justice Department entered large 2009 settlement

June 29 (Reuters) - DuPont Co has settled a $745 million lawsuit brought by Koch Industries Inc's Invista unit over safety and environmental problems at plants once owned by the large chemical company.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed in a joint statement from the companies on Friday.

Invista is a large fiber and polymer producer that once comprised DuPont's textiles and interiors business, and which Koch purchased from DuPont for about $4.4 billion in 2004.

Four years later, Invista sued to recover cleanup costs at facilities transferred in that sale, accusing DuPont of misleading it about health and safety conditions there.

DuPont had countered that it was not responsible to cover cleanup costs because Invista had violated contractual terms relating to environmental indemnification.

A non-jury trial expected to run eight weeks began on June 4 before U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein in Manhattan, but was put on hold this week as the settlement was being worked out.

In April 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice said Invista agreed to pay a $1.7 million civil fine and spend up to $500 million to correct environmental problems at plants in seven U.S. states.

Invista had earlier disclosed more than 680 regulatory violations to the Environmental Protection Agency after auditing 12 facilities it had bought from DuPont. The Justice Department had called the accord the largest under the EPA's audit policy.

Privately held Koch Industries is based in Wichita, Kansas, and controlled by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.

Invista is also based in Wichita. It has several well-known brands including Lycra fiber and Stainmaster carpet, and also makes nylon, which DuPont had invented in the 1930s.

DuPont is based in Wilmington, Delaware.

The case is Invista BV et al v. EI DuPont de Nemours and Co, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 08-03063.