The judge also ruled on other discovery issues, directing that certain documents from expert witnesses in support of the settlement be provided to the objectors by July 30.
After the lawyers submit "proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law" to the court by the end of August, Swope will rule on the issue of whether the settlement is fair and adequate.
Under the tentative agreement, chemical giant Monsanto will provide class members up to $93 million. The company has agreed to a 30-year medical monitoring program with a primary fund of $21 million for testing, and up to $63 million in additional funding, if necessary. It also has agreed to spend $9 million cleaning 4,500 homes.
The settlement also would allow residents to retain their right to file personal-injury lawsuits against Monsanto if medical tests turn up illnesses potentially related to dioxin exposure.
Word of the settlement emerged on the eve of an expected six-month trial in a case in which Nitro-area residents sought medical monitoring for dioxin-related illnesses and a cleanup of what they argue is a contaminated community.
In their lawsuit filed in 2004, Nitro residents said Monsanto unsafely burned dioxin wastes and spread contaminated soot and dust across the city, polluting homes with unsafe levels of the chemical.
For more than 50 years, the Monsanto plant in Nitro churned out herbicides, rubber products and other chemicals. The plant's production of the defoliant Agent Orange created dioxin as a toxic chemical byproduct.
Reach Kate White at kate.wh...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.