BHOPAL, India — Union Carbide and the government of India said Friday that they failed to agree on an out-of-court settlement in the Dec. 3, 1984, gas leak disaster that killed more than 2,800 people and injured more than 200,000.
District Judge M. W. Deo said he would consider a request for interim relief to help surviving victims of the world's worst industrial accident.
"I have been really moved by the fact that the third anniversary of the disaster is drawing close," Deo said.
The government initially filed suit for $3 billion in damage from the U.S.-based multinational firm. Two weeks ago, sources close to the negotiations said the two sides were close to agreement on a $500-million out-of-court settlement. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity.
But on Friday, attorneys told Deo they had not reached an agreement.
In the three years since methyl isocyanate, a liquid chemical used in making pesticide, leaked from a tank at the Union Carbide subsidiary plant in Bhopal, lawyers have been arguing in and out of court.
After reporting that they were near agreement, the two sides failed to meet two court-ordered deadlines for a settlement, on Oct. 30 and Nov. 18.
Deo said he would conduct a hearing Dec. 21 on Union Carbide's request that the court consider additional preliminary statements in the case.