This excerpt taken from the SYT 20-F filed Mar 1, 2006.
McIntosh Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc. has accepted tender from Novartis Corporation (and originally from Ciba Specialty Chemicals Corporation) , under certain agreements associated with the formations of Syngenta and Novartis which allocate environmental liabilities in the US, of a series of lawsuits (in federal and State courts in Alabama and in State court in New Jersey) and pending claims which allege contamination by DDT and other chemicals associated with historic agrochemical manufacturing activities at the Ciba Specialty Chemicals Corporation site at McIntosh, Alabama. The plaintiffs or claimants variously seek damages for wrongful death, personal injury, decreased property value, and the establishment of medical monitoring programs. Liability under lawsuits and pending claims were tendered by Ciba to Novartis and by Novartis to Syngenta under 1996 and 2000 Environmental Matters Agreements associated with formation of Novartis and Syngenta. Current stage of proceedings in each case involves resolution of threshold issues including class certification; jurisdictional forum; and sufficiency of initial disclosure. Plaintiffs in Fisher have recently attempted to initiate settlement discussions. Ware has been dismissed by the Court in New Jersey but the plaintiffs have appealed and the decision of the Appellate Division is awaited with respect to that appeal. Tender of the defence of three new cases was accepted in the fourth quarter of 2005 and acceptance of tender in a fourth case (Witherspoon) is under review. Damages claimed in the lawsuits have not yet been quantified. Syngenta (together with Ciba and Novartis) responded to the breakdown of the mediation proceedings in relation to the Tensaw/Palamar claim on October 3, 2005 by filing an action for Declaratory Judgement in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, in an attempt to preclude the claimant from suing in State Court in Alabama.