Despite being touted as the “most advanced turf herbicide in over 40 years,” Imprelis – an auxin-mimic herbicide produced by DuPont – has been reported to poison the soil and cause significant tree damage, sparking a number of lawsuits against DuPont.
History of Imprelis Damage, DuPont’s Undervalued Settlement Offers
Imprelis was pulled from the market by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in August 2011 – only months after it was first introduced in the Spring of 2011. The EPA’s stop sale order was mandated due to reports that Imprelis was seriously damaging conifer trees, including the Norway spruce and white pine, causing browning of their needles and even tree death throughout the Midwest and Northeastern U.S.
In September 2011, DuPont announced that it was enacting a compensation program for all trees damaged by Imprelis. While the company would not disclose exactly how it was determining the appropriate offer for each claim, it is known that these Imprelis offers are derived from a formula based on size of the tree, with larger trees receiving higher compensation offers. In order to qualify for compensation through this program, DuPont required that those with claims:
- Take pictures of damaged trees and rate the damage on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most severely damaged trees.
- File their claims with DuPont before February 1, 2012 in order to be eligible for compensation.
- Waive their right to filing an individual lawsuit in order to be eligible for compensation through this program.
However, more than a year after Imprelis has been pulled from the market and DuPont’s compensation program was enacted:
- DuPont has not compensated many of 33,000 Imprelis damage claims it has received, which may cause claimants to miss the fall planting season.
- More serious damage to deciduous trees (including maples, oaks, honeylocust and Norway spruce) is now becoming apparent, which indicates that there may be more long-term deleterious effects of Imprelis than originally anticipated or observed.
What is perhaps even more unsettling is the fact that DuPont’s compensation program and offers are based on the tree damage first observed in 2011, meaning that they are grossly inadequate to fully compensate the Imprelis damage that has continued to occur during 2012 (and may continue to occur in the coming years).
Imprelis Lawsuits for Tree Damage
Many affected individuals have grown tired of waiting on DuPont, have realized that Imprelis settlement offers grossly undervalue the real cost of damage sustained and, therefore, are taking matters into their own hands by filing Imprelis lawsuits against DuPont. While some have joined a large Imprelis class action lawsuit in Pennsylvania, approximately 300 individuals are filing their own individual Imprelis lawsuits against DuPont with the help of Richard Schulte at Wright & Schulte, LLC, an Ohio-based law firm.
Given the full extent of Imprelis damage is not yet known – including factors like how long soil will remain poisoned and whether more trees will continue to be affected next fall, knowledgeable Imprelis lawyers are encouraging claimants to:
- Not accept DuPont’s inadequate offers
- Pursue an Imprelis lawsuit in an effort to receive a compensation award more closely reflective of the damage they have sustained – both due to tree death and possibly to loss of income if they financially rely on the fall planting season.