Read the full article by Reuters via The Guardian

“A US judge has allowed the delay of a trial in which the city of Stuart, Florida sued the industrial conglomerate 3M over water contamination from toxic ‘forever chemicals’, a court filing showed on Monday.

3M shares fell 1.3% in morning trade.

‘The parties informed the Court last evening that they have reached a stage in those discussions where they believe a final binding agreement is achievable in the near future,’ South Carolina US district judge Richard Gergel said in the order.

The judge asked for weekly updates, and said he would reschedule the trial if an agreement is not reached within 21 days.

3M and the city of Stuart are making ‘significant’ progress to settle a water pollution suit tied to toxic ‘forever chemicals’ and sought to delay a trial, according to a court filing on Sunday.

3M was scheduled to face trial in South Carolina federal court on Monday in a lawsuit brought by the Florida city accusing the company of manufacturing PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, despite knowing for decades that the chemicals can cause cancer and other ailments.

‘We are hopeful that this delay will lead to a meaningful settlement in the near term,’ said Paul Napoli, a partner at the law firm Napoli Shkolnik.

3M did not respond to requests for comment.

The city of Stuart claimed in its 2018 lawsuit that the company made or sold firefighting foams containing PFAS that polluted local soil and groundwater and sought more than $100m for filtration and remediation.

Set to have been a test case, the lawsuit is one of more than 4,000 filed against 3M and other chemical companies by US municipalities, state governments and individuals that have been consolidated in federal court in South Carolina.

The delay comes after three major chemicals companies, Chemours, DuPont and Corteva, last Friday said they had reached an agreement in principle to settle claims they contaminated US public water systems with PFAS for $1.19bn.

3M announced in December that it would stop producing PFAS by 2025, amid increased legal and regulatory scrutiny.

Bloomberg News reported last Friday that 3M had struck a tentative $10bn deal with US cities and towns to resolve the PFAS water pollution lawsuits it is facing.”…