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Class actions over firefighting foam consolidated into multidistrict litigation

By Shaniqua Williams

Posted on November 03rd, 2019

A massive multidistrict litigation (MDL), combining more than 100 lawsuits over per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), PFOS and PFOA - cancer-linked chemicals found in firefighting foam - was created earlier this year. The lawsuits have been transferred to the District of South Carolina, under the guidance of Judge Richard M. Gergel.

These legal actions allege that aqueous film-forming foams (AFFFs) - used to put out emergency fires - contaminated the groundwater near certain airports and other industrial locations and contaminated drinking water supplies, putting human health at risk.

Plaintiffs in these lawsuits include individuals, water providers, water districts and state and local authorities. Manufacturers named as defendants are 3M Company, Tyco Fire Products, Chemguard, Inc, DuPont, Kidde and both the US government and several federal entities that are being blamed for producing the substances or foams, or calling for their use.

Our thoughts go out to those seriously affected by exposure to PFAS chemicals. Our seasoned attorneys know how to handle such delicate cases. If you believe that your medical condition was caused by exposure to AFFF and PFAS, call us for a free consultation.

So far, lawsuits have focused on certain limited areas, but evidence suggests that most communities train firefighters with potentially toxic foams in local areas that could lead to groundwater contamination and the problem may be more widespread than previously believed.

PFAS product liability and occupational exposure claims for personal injury

If you've been injured by exposure to PFAS, you deserve compensation. Time and time again, giant companies are aware of the health and safety risks of hazardous chemicals but don't disclose that information to the public.

The toxic tort actions filed against PFAS manufacturers include the following allegations made by firefighters, farmers and others:

  • Firefighters claim that they have been exposed to elevated levels of certain PFAS chemicals from regular contact with firefighting foam products, and drank water supplied by wells at the AFFF sites. They claim that due to exposure, they are at significant risk of several health conditions, including kidney and testicular cancer, autoimmune disease and high cholesterol. They ask for a medical monitoring program and damages resulting from exposure to AFFF.
  • Included in the MDL is an Ohio firefighter's nearly nation-wide class action against PFAS manufacturers, claiming to represent everyone with PFAS in their blood, which makes an estimated 99% of the population. He is asking for a health study of exposed people. DuPont and Chemours have already lost some suits over the chemicals after such a study was done on people exposed to one of the chemicals, PFOA and weighed by a judge and paid $671 million in a settlement. The study concluded that PFOA was linked to six diseases including kidney cancer, testicular cancer, and ulcerative colitis, after monitoring affected residents over time.
  • Farmers and others who have been exposed to PFAS-contaminated water over the advisory levels advanced claims of negligence, nuisance, fraudulent concealment and unjust enrichment against the manufacturers. They seek damages for property devaluation, the loss of use of property, the cost of obtaining drinking water and of abatement and remediation. Besides, they seek a court order to have the manufacturers fully clean up contaminated properties and provide long-term access to safe water.

Holding companies accountable in PFAS cases

If you've stumbled across this article because you're searching for a lawyer, we can help. Environmental Litigation Group is leading the way to represent anyone who has experienced personal injury and property damage by PFAS chemicals.

When companies fail to take responsibility for their negligence and place others at risk, they can be held legally responsible.

Our team of experienced lawyers will hold companies that manufacture and sell dangerous chemicals accountable and make sure you receive full compensation for the harm done to you.