24 – Risks from Litigation and Claims

BASF Corporation has potential liability under the Comprehensive Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, as amended, and related state laws for investigation and cleanup at certain sites. The Lower Passaic River Study Area (LPRSA) is one such site comprising the lower 17 miles of the Passaic River in New Jersey. BASF Corporation and more than 60 other companies (collectively, the Lower Passaic River Study Area Cooperating Parties Group or CPG) agreed to complete a remedial investigation / feasibility study (RI/FS) of the LPRSA. In 2016, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) selected a final remedy for the lower eight miles of the LPRSA. A decision from USEPA on a targeted approach for the upper portion of the LPRSA is expected for 2021. BASF Corporation established a provision covering BASF’s currently estimated share of the remediation costs.

Between November 2014 and March 2015, a putative class action lawsuit and several additional lawsuits were filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against BASF Metals Limited (BML), based in the United Kingdom, along with other defendants, alleging violations of antitrust and commodities laws stemming from the price discovery process for platinum and palladium. The lawsuits were consolidated and dismissed on jurisdictional grounds in March 2017. In May 2017, the plaintiffs filed an amended Complaint that renews allegations against defendants and BML. On March 29, 2020, all claims against all defendants were dismissed. On April 27, 2020, plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, where the matter is still pending. A pro se complaint filed in September 2015 that was not consolidated into the consolidated class action was ultimately dismissed as of November 18, 2019.

On February 14/15, 2020, a jury in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri awarded $15 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages against defendants Monsanto Company and BASF Corporation. The verdict relates to alleged yield losses of a peach farmer in connection with the use of the dicamba herbicide. BASF and Monsanto filed post-trial motions to challenge the jury’s verdict. On November 25, 2020, the trial court ruled on the post-trial motions, and the punitive damages award was reduced from $250 million to $60 million. The court did not grant any other relief related to the jury’s verdict. BASF and Monsanto filed notices of appeal on December 18, 2020.

Since August 2019, BASF Corporation has been served in various U.S. federal and state lawsuits alleging property and resource damages and personal injuries from possible exposure to per- and polyflouroalkyl substances (PFAS). In December 2018, a multi-district litigation (MDL) was created to coordinate claims brought against manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers of Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) in particular, which plaintiffs allege contains toxic levels of certain PFAS compounds including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). Plaintiffs typically allege that exposure to AFFF has caused loss of use and enjoyment of property, diminished property value, remediation costs, and personal injuries including various types of cancers. The complaints name BASF as a defendant in connection with its 2009 acquisition of Ciba Specialty Chemicals Inc. and the legacy Ciba/BASF Lodyne fluorochemical product lines. BASF has been named in 638 suits as of Janary 2021 and is defending all litigation.

At this time, BASF cannot predict the outcomes of resolving these matters or what potential actions may be taken by regulatory agencies. An adverse outcome in any one or more of these matters could be material to BASF’s financial results.

Furthermore, BASF SE and its affiliated companies are defendants in or parties to a variety of judicial, arbitrational or regulatory proceedings on a recurring basis. To our current knowledge, none of these proceedings will have a material effect on the economic situation of BASF.