On October 13, 2020, North Carolina, acting through its Attorney General, filed suit in state court against DuPont, Chemours and related companies seeking costs to investigate, assess, remediate, restore and remedy PFAS contamination “across a broad swath of North Carolina.” The complaint alleges that the defendants contaminated the land, air, water and natural resources of North Carolina as a result of releases of GenX and other PFAS from the Fayetteville Works facility. The suit seeks damages for injuries to natural resources, property damages, economic damages, punitive damages, restitution and disgorgement. The complaint, which requests a jury trial, seeks to void the spinoff of Chemours and enjoin the transfer of assets that belonged to “Old DuPont” on the basis the “Old DuPont knew that Chemours was undercapitalized and could not satisfy the massive [PFAS] liabilities that it caused Chemours to assume.”
According to a press release from the Attorney General’s Office, in August the Attorney General announced a formal investigation into those responsible for PFAS contamination in North Carolina and this suit is the first case as a result of that ongoing investigation. In addition to the Attorney General, the complaint was filed by a number of private law firms on behalf of North Carolina. The complaint was filed one day after court approval was received on an Addendum to a Consent Order between the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality and Chemours that requires Chemours to a take action to reduce PFAS entering the Cape Fear River through residual groundwater contamination from the Fayetteville Works facility. The suit raises a number of interesting issues including the effect of past settlements, the ability to challenge corporate reorganizations, and the Attorney General’s ability to act as a trustee of the state’s natural resources using private law firms.