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Property Owners, Landscapers Wait for Imprelis Answers from Dupont

Aug 25, 2011 | Parker Waichman LLP

It's been three weeks since DuPont announced that it would recall Imprelis, an herbicide that has been blamed for the deaths of hundreds of evergreen trees. However, Imprelis customers are still waiting to learn the details of the recall, and property owners who have lost trees to the herbicide have not been given information on what DuPont plans to do to compensate them.

DuPont announced on August 4 that it would suspend sales of Imprelis, and said that it was working on a refund and return program for its customers. A week later, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formally banned sales ofImprelis after data provided by DuPont confirmed that certain coniferous trees, including Norway spruce, white pine and balsam fir, were susceptible to being damaged or killed by the application of Imprelis.

Now, customers and property owners are waiting on DuPont's next steps. Landscapers are worried that if DuPont doesn't make things right with them or their clients, it will cost them dearly.

"It's horrible," Terry Wagenschutz of Wagenschutz Lawn Spraying told the Detroit Free Press. "It's an absolute nightmare."

Even if his insurance pays for his Imprelis-damaged trees, the Michigan landscaper said his deductibles could total well over $100,000.

Property owners who have lost trees to Imprelis say they expect to be made whole. Jerry Richart, of Troy, Michigan, told the Free Press wants comparable trees for the 40-foot evergreens that are dying on his property, and he wants everything paid for, including the removal of the dead trees and planting of new ones. He also said he doesn't trust DuPont, and would rather give his lawn care service the chance to make things right.

A DuPont spokesperson told the Free Press that the company is working out the return and refund program that it hopes to start soon. She also said the company has sent out 20 arborist companies to evaluate "our customers' problems." However, major questions, including how trees will be valued and replace, still remain unanswered.

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