Retired Texas shrimper wins record-breaking $50 million settlement from plastics manufacturing giant

U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt approved the settlement agreement between a scrappy environmental coalition and plastics giant Formosa. The settlement is the largest in U.S. history resulting from a citizen environmental suit.

News Story (Texas)

Texas Tribune
December 3, 2019

Tags: Environmental Justice

Organizations mentioned/involved: Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA)


A federal judge approved a historic settlement agreement Tuesday between Taiwan-based plastics manufacturer Formosa and a scrappy environmental activist represented by indigent legal services nonprofit Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid.

TRLA said the $50 million settlement is the largest in U.S. history involving a private citizen’s lawsuit against an industrial polluter under federal clean air and water laws. The money will be poured into a trust over the next five years and used to pay for programs supporting pollution mitigation, habitat restoration, public education and other environmental efforts on the middle Texas Gulf Coast.

Diane Wilson, a retired shrimper and an environmental activist, sued Formosa in July 2017, alleging that its Port Comfort plant had illegally discharged thousands of plastic pellets and other pollutants into Lavaca Bay and other nearby waterways. Environmental group San Antonio Bay Estuarine Waterkeeper, represented by two private attorneys, joined Wilson in the suit.