Victims deserve max compensation

Before the giant chemical company DuPont stopped using a chemical known as C8 at its plant near Parkersburg, a significant amount of the substance contaminated water supplies in that area. C8 has been linked to at least six diseases, including cancer.

Since C8 use ended more than a decade ago, two things have occurred: DuPont created a spinoff company, Chemours, which now operates the Wood County plant, and more than 3,500 lawsuits were filed by those allegeding they were harmed by the C8 contamination.

On Monday, it was revealed DuPont and Chemours, while admitting no wrongdoing, have agreed to pay $670.7 million to settle the lawsuits. They have committed to as much as $250 million more during the five years after the initial settlement, for costs not covered by it.

Details of the settlement remain to be worked out. Among them is who gets how much from the $670.7 million. Much of it will go to lawyers. It is not uncommon in such situations for plaintiffs’ attorneys to rake off one-third of settlement funds.

Some of it may go to government. It also is not uncommon in product liability cases for state and federal governments to claim enormous amounts. Often, most of the money goes into their general funds to be used for purposes that have nothing to do with the lawsuits.

In all likelihood, a federal judge will oversee the settlement. Here’s hoping he or she limits the take by attorneys and government so victims of C8 get the maximum compensation possible.