Have you or a loved one been exposed to the toxic chemicals in AFFF firefighting foam and are now experiencing health complications? If yes, you’re not alone. You can file an AFFF lawsuit and be eligible to receive compensation for medical bills, pain, suffering, lost wages, etc. and you may be entitled to compensation. But before you join the AFFF firefighting foam class action lawsuit, consider this: individual AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits may yield better compensation.
California personal injury law firm Nadrich and Cohen is highly experienced in toxic exposure cases and can help you weigh your options. Contact us to explore your legal rights and representation.
What is AFFF Firefighting Foam?
According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) is a type of fire suppressant agent used to attack flammable liquid pool fires. AFFF is widely used in fire fighting vehicles, fire training facilities, and shipboard and shore facility fire suppression systems.
Firefighters use AFFF to combat liquid-based fires (starting from gasoline, oil, and other flammable liquids).
The composition of the AFFF includes hydrocarbon-based surfactants, such as sodium alkyl sulfate, and fluorosurfactants, such as:
- Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS)
- Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
Is AFFF Toxic?
AFFF has raised concerns severally since it comprises PFAS (per and polyfluoroalkyl substances). These are toxic chemicals known to cause harm to human health. In addition, PFAS don’t break down easily in the environment, wildlife, waterways, and human bodies. PFAS in AFFF is commonly linked to cancer.
Military personnel and firefighters are at the highest risk of AFFF’s toxicity. However, AFFF exposure can also result from drinking AFFF-contaminated water or eating foods grown in AFFF-contaminated areas. Chemicals in AFFF contaminate groundwater, air, and soil.
The nature of fighting fires with toxic firefighting foam means that a lot of the substance is used to fight oil fires, with much of it aerosolized during the firefighting process. A simple catalyst such as wind or flooding can then transfer these chemicals throughout the environment, thus increasing the risks of exposure.
Side Effects of AFFF Exposure
AFFF foam exposure via occupational use of firefighting foam or via groundwater contamination can result in severe health complications. PFAS is often referred to as a “forever chemical” since the elemental bonds of fluorine and carbon are strong and hard to break down in the human body and environment. As such, when consumed by humans, the carcinogens in AFFF stay in the body for a long time. The Environmental Protection Agency has stated that PFAS exposure is linked with adverse health outcomes.
Most people exposed to AFFF are either firefighters or military personnel. The US Department of Veteran Affairs has warned against possible side effects of AFFF exposure, such as:
- Thyroid disease
- Pregnancy-induced pre-eclampsia and hypertension
- Low birth weight
- Liver disease
- Immune system changes
- Fetal damage
- Fertility problems
- Cholesterol increases
- Child development issues
PFAS exposure has also been linked with:
- Ulcerative colitis
- Increased cardiovascular disease risk
PFAS exposure can also increase the risk of hypertension, according to a new study. The authors discovered a 42-47% increased risk of hypertension in women exposed to PFAS.
The study provides more evidence of the link between PFAS chemicals and increased cardiovascular disease risks. The study’s participant with the highest PFAS concentration in their body had a 71% increased chance of hypertension.
However, the intensity of the side effects will vary depending on the length of exposure and the AFFF concentration. A California AFFF lawsuit lawyer can help you get compensation for the medical bills incurred as a result of treating AFFF exposure.
Cancer Risks and AFF Exposure
Firefighters exposed to AFFF are at an increased risk of developing cancer. Cancers linked with AFFF exposure include:
- Kidney cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Breast cancer
- Liver cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Endometrial cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Some of these cancers can be treatable when caught early. However, others lack a good prognosis. Cancer treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, may also have serious side effects.
Because AFFF has been linked with cancer, an AFFF class action MDL has been created.
Negative Impacts of AFFF Exposure
Firefighters exposed to AFFF are often the victims of:
- Medical conditions such as asthma
- High medical bills
- Lost wages and financial downtime
- Emotional and psychological distress.
Even if you or your loved ones survived a cancer diagnosis after AFFF exposure in your line of work, it is important to note that your life will have been impacted forever. Therefore, if you suffer from the illnesses mentioned above and medical conditions and suspect you were exposed to AFFF, you can file a lawsuit against the liable party for compensation and damages.
Who Can File AFFF Firefighting Foam Lawsuits?
Anyone with long-term exposure to firefighting foam (AFFF) can be at risk of developing cancer from PFAS exposure. Such individuals include:
- Chemical industry
- Military service members
- Airport workers
- People living in or near a military base or an area with AFFF contamination.
Although these cases are generally known as firefighting foam cancer lawsuits, most claimants are active or former military members. Therefore, you can file a firefighting foam cancer lawsuit if you or your loved one has been exposed to AFFF and have developed medical conditions or lost your loved one due to AFFF exposure complications. If unsure, reach out to a California firefighting foam (AFFF) cancer lawsuit attorney to help determine whether you have a case.
Plaintiffs in an AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit can also be municipalities with contaminated land or water supplies. For instance, the City of Stuart filed a claim against AFFF manufacturers for contaminating its water supply. Similarly, the state of California is part of the lawsuit against AFFF manufacturers, claiming contaminated water supply too.
Firefighters may also qualify to file a lawsuit over being exposed to PFAS chemicals in firefighting gear.
Who Can Qualify to File An AFFF Firefighting Foam Lawsuit?
You qualify to file a firefighting foam lawsuit if you have been exposed to PFAS and have developed one of several specific conditions.
You must show that you used or were exposed to firefighting foam. If you use AFFF regularly as part of your job, you should qualify to file a firefighting foam cancer lawsuit without any issues.
You must have been diagnosed with one of the following conditions:
- Testicular cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Ulcerative colitis
- Thyroid disease – hyper and hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease
- Blood cancer
- Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Non-hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Multiple myeloma
- Bladder cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Liver cancer
- Breast cancer – male only
- Colorectal cancer
- Endometrial cancer
Who is Liable for Toxic Firefighting (AFFF) Exposure Injuries and Damages?
Most defendants in AFFF firefighting foam cases are manufacturers, distributors, and sellers of products containing AFFF. Such corporations may include:
- 3M Company
- UTC Fire and Security Americas Corporation, Inc.
- United Technologies
- Tyco Fire Products, LP
- National Foam, Inc.
- Kidde P.L.C.
- Kidde-Fenwal, Inc.
- E. I. Du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont)
- Dynax Corporation
- Du Pont de Nemours Inc. (DowDuPont, Inc.)
- Corteva, Inc.
- Chubb Fire, Ltd.
- Chemours Company FC, LLC
- Buckeye Fire Equipment Company.
Multi-billion dollar manufacturers such as DuPont and 3M have sold AFFF for decades. This is despite the fact that AFFF’s chemicals pose severe long-term risks to human health. Such manufacturers should be held accountable for placing profits over consumer safety, especially since they fail to warn the public of the known risks and possible side effects. To be held liable, it must be proven that the defendants were negligent in designing, manufacturing, testing, or marketing the products. In addition, claimants in AFFF litigation must prove that the negligence resulted in financial losses or actual injuries.
What Damages Can a Firefighting Foam Lawyer Help Me Recover?
A California firefighting foam cancer lawsuit cancer can help you recover financial compensation for various damages, such as:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future loss of earning capacity
- Past and future lost wages
- Out-of-pocket expenses and other economic damages
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
The specifics of the case will determine the value of your AFF cancer lawsuit claim. Our California AFFF cancer lawsuit lawyer can help you get the maximum compensation value depending on your case facts.
Laws Supporting Your Firefighting Foam Lawsuit in California
PFAS Action Act
The dangers of PFAS have led to Members of Congress introducing the PFAS Action Act. The PFAS Action Act establishes a national PFAS drinking water standard. It also designates PFAS as a hazardous chemical and limits PFAS industrial discharge.
AFFF manufacturers sell their products without warning the public of their possible dangers. The result is exposure to multiple causes of action in firefighting foam lawsuits, including negligence and strict liability.
Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)
According to CACI No.1221, a product manufacturer is negligent when it fails to use the amount of care when manufacturing products that a reasonably careful manufacturer would employ in similar instances to prevent exposing others to foreseeable risks of harm.
Furthermore, according to CACI No.1222, a product manufacturer is negligent when it knows or reasonably should know that the product is dangerous or can cause danger when used or misused in a reasonably foreseeable manner but still fail to sufficiently warn of the danger when a reasonable manufacturer would have provided sufficient warning of the risks under similar circumstances.
Most AFFF manufacturers are aware of the possible risks and have been selling the products for decades without warning the public about the risk of developing cancer. Such actions expose AFF manufacturers to lawsuits on the grounds of negligence.
According to CACI No.1205, a manufacturer can be found strictly liable for damages caused by their products when there is scientific and medical proof that their product is possibly dangerous yet still fail to warn users about the danger. Unfortunately, AFFF manufacturers fail to warn the public of the dangers of AFFF and, as such, can be held liable under strict liability.
Under CACI No.1203, a manufacturer can also be held liable for damages caused by their product when a properly manufactured product doesn’t perform as safely as an ordinary consumer would expect it to when used or misused in an intended or reasonably foreseeable way. It should also be proven that the claimant suffered harm as a result and that the product’s failure to function safely was a substantial contributing factor to the harm done. In this case, an AFF product doesn’t perform as an ordinary consumer would expect it to when used reasonably. It is defective by design since it causes cancer, even when manufactured properly and used as intended.
What is the Statute of Limitations for AFFF Lawsuits in California?
A statute of limitation determines the amount of time you have to take legal action after discovering injuries relating to your claim. The length of time varies depending on your case type and state.
The statute of limitations for a product liability case like the AFFF lawsuit is two years from when you first notice symptoms to file a claim. The same applies to a statute of limitations for a negligence claim.
Is the AFFF Lawsuit A Class Action Suit?
An AFFF class action lawsuit was filed against corporations manufacturing firefighter foam. Victims claimed that the manufacturers chose to manufacture and sell AFFF despite knowing the various environmental and health hazards linked with PFAS chemicals found in the product. Currently, the affected parties seek compensation for their medical expenses, attorney fees, and court-supervised water-testing program.
Hundreds of former and current firefighters, as well as individuals exposed to firefighting foam while performing their duties and later diagnosed with cancer and other medical conditions, are currently filing product liability lawsuits against DuPont, 3M, and other AFFF manufacturers.
All other firefighting foam lawsuits pending countrywide were consolidated into an AFFF firefighting foam MDL in the US District Court for South Carolina before the Honorable Judge Richard M.Gergel for coordinated discovery and pre-trial matters.
The Judiciary panel on MDL determined that AFFF lawsuits comprised common questions of law and fact, such that centralization of these matters was unquestionable. The MDL is currently underway, with more and more cases still being filed.
These mass tort claims allege that exposure to AFFF’s PFAS harms human health and increases the risks of cancer development. The lawsuits involve claims linked to per- or polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS Chemicals).
The plaintiffs allege that AFFFs containing PFOA and PFOS contaminated groundwater near military bases, chemical plants, airports, and other industrial sites where they were utilized to extinguish liquid fuel fires like jet fuel. Plaintiffs in these lawsuits are suit parties involved in the manufacture, production, and sale of AFFF products alleging negligence, gross negligence, recklessness, and willfulness in the design, manufacture, labeling, instruction, training, warning, marketing, selling, and distribution of these products in one or more of these respects:
- In the sale and distribution of products inherently dangerous for public consumption
- Failing to employ reasonable care in the marketing, promotion, and advertisement of the AFFF products to avoid unreasonable risks of harm to the public
- Failing to use appropriate care in warning/ instructing the public of risks linked with the AFFF product
- Failing to use appropriate care in product inspection to prevent unreasonable risks of harm to the public
- Failing to use reasonable care in product testing to prevent unreasonable risks of harm to the public
- Failing to design the product to avoid an unreasonable risk of harm to individuals.
How Much Settlement Amount Can You Expect from Your Firefighting Foam Lawsuit?
Factors affecting your compensation amount typically depend on the severity and circumstances of your case. One of the primary factors when considering the compensation amount is professional diagnosis.
Other factors likely to affect your compensation amount include:
- The extent of pain and suffering
- Long-term prognosis and seriousness of your illness
- The level of exposure to AFFF
If you’ve suffered lost earning capacity as a result of any disability due to AFFF exposure.
Therefore, the question of how much settlement you can get from an AFFF lawsuit is a moving target and, frankly, pure speculation.
The two primary types of compensatory damages are medical bills and pain and suffering. Most cancer treatments cost an average of $10,000 monthly, whereas some can go as high as $30,000 monthly. In all fairness, a reasonable amount of compensation can be about thrice the amount of economic losses.
Firefighting Foam Lawsuit FAQs
What Information Should I Provide to Prove the Validity of My AFFF Lawsuit?
Liaise with a personal injury lawyer to understand your legal rights and what info you should provide to prove your claim. Such records can include:
- Medical records
- Medical bills
- Evidence of your AFFF exposure.
How Long Does It Take to File An AFFF Lawsuit?
Getting your settlement can take a lot of time. The same can also apply to filing a lawsuit. However, the sooner you contact a personal injury lawyer–most likely when you first notice the symptoms of AFFF exposure–the faster the lawyer will file the lawsuit.
An experienced personal injury attorney can walk you through the process and give you a rough idea of the timeline relating to your claim. Generally, factors contributing to the length of your claim include:
- The extent of your cancer and treatment protocols
- The negotiation rounds you go through.
Can I File A Wrongful Death Claim As A Result of AFFF Exposure-Related Cancer?
You can file a wrongful death claim if you lose a loved one due to cancer from AFFF exposure. The wrongful death claim can compensate you for the loss associated with losing a loved one. Reach out to an attorney experienced in AFFF claims to give you a better understanding of what compensation to expect.
How Do I Get Maximum Damages from A Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuit?
You can recover compensation for both economic and non-economic harms if you successfully prove negligence and liability in court. An experienced California firefighting cancer lawsuit lawyer has the technical know-how to help you recover the maximum compensation you deserve for damages.
Economic damages are tangible damages that are easily quantifiable and can include medical bills and lost earning capacity. Your lawyer may ask you to provide your employment/military and medical records.
If you or your loved one is currently undergoing cancer treatment, ensure you keep copies of your treatment plan, previous appointment records, medication histories, hospital bills, and receipts. These documents can help cement your compensation claim and can help determine how much your compensation will be.
On the other hand, non-economic damages are intangible and can be hard to estimate. However, they may also have a significantly higher value than economic damages. Non-economic damages often include pain and suffering as well as emotional distress. Our firefighting foam cancer lawsuit attorney can help you discover the benefits you’re eligible to get from an AFFF lawsuit.
How Can Our Firefighting Foam Lawyers Help?
Have you or your loved one been exposed to firefighting foam and developed cancer or other complications? Our personal injury lawyer at Nadrich and Cohen can help you seek compensation for your damages.
The lawyers at Nadrich & Cohen are experienced in representing parties affected after exposure to PFAS. One of our partners served as co-lead counsel in PFAS exposure litigation, securing a $671 million settlement for the claimant. Besides this settlement, our law firm has secured settlements for different clients amounting to $12.5 million, $5.1 million, and $1.6 million.
Can PFAS Be Removed From Drinking Water?
There are some technological innovations which might be able to effectively remove PFAS from drinking water.
These technologies include:
Activated carbon treatment: Activated carbon can effectively absorb numerous compounds, including PFAS, since it is extremely porous and provides a lot of surface area with which to absorb things. It is made with organic materials with a lot of carbon in them, like coal, lignite and wood. PFAS can be removed by flowing water through an activated carbon filter after particulate removal has taken place. This technology can remove 100 percent of PFAS from water.
Ion exchange treatment: Ion exchange resins are composed of tiny beads, are very porous and are insoluble in water, bases and acids. Anion resins with a positive charge attract negatively charged PFAS ions. The resin can be incinerated once it has been used to remove PFAS from water. This technology can remove 100 percent of PFAS from water.
High-pressure membranes: Nanofiltration and reverse osmosis membranes can remove over 90 percent of PFAS from water. They represent practical, effective methods for homeowners to remove PFAS from their own drinking water.
How can we help you?
Our California firefighting foam cancer lawsuit lawyers can help you determine if you have a claim. We take a deep approach to understanding every fact of your situation to determine your eligibility to file the claim.
We then provide unbiased and proper legal advice on the way forward. Once we determine if you qualify to file an AFFF lawsuit, we provide the proper legal representation necessary to hold liable parties accountable.
In addition, our personal injury lawyers use tools, resources, and knowledge at their disposal to help you get the maximum compensation you deserve. While a jury award or settlement can’t erase the harm or damage, a monetary recovery can alleviate the financial hardships you incur from exposure and subsequent harm.
What Compensation Can We Get You in An AFFF Lawsuit?
Our legal team aims to maximize compensation for our clients’ exposure to AFFF. Plaintiffs can be eligible for monetary damages to compensate for current and previous medical bills, loss of future earnings, lost income, permanent disability, loss of consortium, and pain and suffering. Our lawyers will analyze the specifics of your case to determine how much compensation we can help you get for your damages.
AFFF Lawsuit Updates
A bill in the Iowa Senate, Senate File 2229, has been introduced, seeking to ban usage in the state of AFFF firefighting foam which contains PFAS chemicals, seeking to curb the risks of cancer and water contamination which are linked to PFAS. The bill would prohibit county airports, municipalities and fire departments from purchasing or acquiring AFFF which contains PFAS chemicals, starting on January 1, 2026.
The State of Ohio has plans to destroy stockpiles of AFFF firefighting foam because it contains very high levels of PFAS chemicals, which have contaminated water in communities all across the nation, and have been linked with cancer and other side effects. The program will be done with the help of a company named Battelle, which developed a technology called PFAS Annihilator.
The technology exposes firefighting foam to super critical water oxidization that can destroy the AFFF and reduces the levels of PFAS in wastewater to levels which are not detectable.
The CDC has issued “PFAS Information for Clinicians,” which is guidance for clinicians about the treatment and testing of patients who have been exposed to PFAS chemicals. The guidance notes that PFAS exposure is potentially linked with:
- Higher cholesterol levels
- Lower birth weight
- Less antibody response to a vaccine
- Testicular cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver enzyme changes
- Pregnancy-induced hypertension
The CDC notes that there are no medical treatments currently approved to reduce the amount of PFAS chemicals in the human body.
The AFFF MDL has seen 88 new cases added to it in the past month. The MDL now has 6,715 total cases which are pending.
Parties involved in the AFFF MDL have been given 24 weeks for conducting core discovery regarding select cases. The cases involve cases which will end up being the first claims that jurors see. The core discovery process will involve parties exchanging information and documents like medical records, as well as conducting depositions of company officials, key witnesses and plaintiffs. Many of the claims involve lawsuits brought by firefights who developed cancer after being exposed to AFFF firefighting foam.
227 new cases have been added to the AFFF MDL in the past month, bringing the total number of cases to 6,627.
A new Environmental Working Group analysis of EPA data has found that at least 44 million people in the United States have drinking water that is contaminated with PFAS chemicals. Far more Americans likely have drinking water contaminated by PFAS chemicals, as the data the group analyzed only includes test results from less than one-third of the United States’ drinking water. The group has previously estimated that over 200 million Americans’ drinking water is contaminated with PFOA or PFOS.
Multiple United States cities object to a proposed settlement regarding water contamination by PFAS chemicals found in products such as AFFF firefighting foam, saying the settlement lets off 3M too easily regarding damage they caused to public health and the environment.
The Widefield Water and Sanitation District in the state of Colorado objects to the settlement. The district has claimed that PFAS from AFFF firefighting foam has contaminated its aquifier since 2016. The district claims the settlement is not adequate, reasonable or fair, as it won’t adequately address harm to drinking water or financial burdens which are associated with remediating, treating and monitoring the water.
There are now over 6,000 cases in the AFFF MDL. 111 cases were added to the MDL in September. Many of these cases involve claims of water contamination, meaning they have been resolved by a global settlement deal reached this summer.
A study has found that elevated serum concentrations of the PFAS chemical PFOS were positively associated with testicular germ cell tumors in United States Air Force servicemen. The study found that those with elevated serum concentrations of PFOS were 2.6 times more likely to have testicular germ cell tumors.
A study published on September 18 found that various PFAS chemicals were linked with uterine and ovarian cancers in white women.
On August 29, 2023, a court preliminarily approved a $12.5 billion proposed settlement revision in a class action PFAS lawsuit brought by utilities claiming that drinking water was contaminated by PFAS in AFFF. The purpose of the revision is to protect utilities from certain liabilities in the future.
On August 22, 2023, a judge preliminarily approved a $1.18 billion settlement between municipal water systems and DuPont. In addition, a recent settlement between water systems and 3M has been estimated at between $10.5 billion and $12.5 billion. Estimates have found that water systems will receive between $36,000 and $170 million each in the settlement.
22 states are opposing the $12.5 billion settlement which 3M offered to put an end to litigation regarding water supplies being contaminated by PFAS from AFFF firefighting foam. The states object to an indemnification clause in the settlement which could make water utilities liable. According to the states, if a cancer cluster is caused by PFAS contamination in water and those with cancer sue 3M, then 3M would probably be able to sue water companies as a result.
On July 18, 2023, AFFF manufacturer Tyco Fire Protection Products announced it will stop making and selling AFFF by June of 2024. The company announced it is going to transition to manufacturing and selling foam alternatives which are non-fluorinated. The company stated that recent advances allowed the company to create new, effective firefighting foams which are non-fluorinated.
On June 22, 2023, it was announced that a $12.5 billion deal was reached between 3M and public water systems. The deal was regarding drinking water being contaminated by PFAS in firefighting foam.
On June 5, 2023, the nation’s first bellwether trial in the AFFF MDL will be held in the U.S. District Court of South Carolina. The case is about PFAS in AFFF and Judge Richard M. Gergel will preside over the case. The plaintiffs are expected to call 13 or more witnesses and share 11 or more depositions. The defense is expected to call 15 or more witnesses and share one or more depositions.
The defendants include Dupont De Nemours, 3M Company, Chemguard, Tyco Fire Products, National Foam, Buckeye Fire Equipment Company, Dynax Corporation, Kidde Fenwal, Basf Corporation, Clariant Corporation and Corteva.
The MDL is seeing municipalities and cities filing lawsuits against AFFF distributors and the government for the use and production of AFFF, which allegedly contaminated nationwide water sources with PFAS. According to the EPA, ingestion of or contact with PFAS might cause decreased immunity, an increased risk of cancer, developmental delays in children and decreased fertility. There are over 400 claims by plaintiffs in the docket. The JPML is considering additional tag-along actions. The plaintiffs and defense were ordered by Gergel to submit case proposals for a second bellwether trial by August 11.
The United States District of South Carolina is preparing for the first bellwether trial in the AFFF MDL. The trial is scheduled for June 5, 2023. Judge Richard M Gergel will be presiding. Municipalities and cities file suit over the use of firefighting foam which contains PFAS. The foam allegedly contaminated nationwide water sources as run-off. According to the EPA, ingestion of or contact with PFAS might cause cancer, lower immunity, lower fertility, childhood developmental delays and more. Over 400 claims are in the docket, and more claims are up for consolidation in a May 25 hearing.
3M announced that it will stop manufacturing PFAS by the end of 2025. However, the number of lawsuits against the company is expected to keep growing for decades, since PFAS persist in the environment and human body for so long.
Over 100 new cases have been added to the firefighting foam lawsuit, bringing the number to over 3,300 cases.
Keeping track of the firefighting foam lawsuit updates can help you understand what to expect from your case. While each case is unique in facts, you can use set precedence to solidify your AFFF lawsuit.
The MDL lawsuit has grown, bringing the total number of cases to over 3,200. Furthermore, California filed a water contamination suit against DuPont, 3M, and other manufacturers of AFF products used over the last few decades, claiming that the state’s drinking water supply is toxic and unsafe for consumption.
The MDL judge appointed a mediator, Layn Phillips, a retired judge, to facilitate firefighting foam lawsuit settlement negotiations. The settlement negotiations will happen before the first bellwether test trial in 2023.
Attorney General Josh Stein from North Carolina announced the addition of new lawsuits to the firefighting foam class action lawsuit.
In addition, the first bellwether test trial case was picked. The MDL judge ruled that the first test trial case would be City of Stuart v. 3M Company, et al., (2:18-cv-3487). This isn’t a personal injury case but a municipal water contamination case.
The City of Stuart alleged that AFFF used during firefighters’ training exercises contaminated its water supply. It is suing 3M and other manufacturers for failing to issue a proper warning.
The city is seeking damages for the cost of cleaning the toxic chemicals out of its water system. The trial is set to start on June 5, 2023. In addition, dispositive pre-trial motions are due by February 3, 2023.
New cases were transferred to the AFFF class action lawsuit. Most of these new cases were brought by claimants living on or near military bases with high firefighting foam usage.
Over 90 new cases were added to the MDL, bringing the total number to over 2,500. A section of the new AFFF lawsuits were individual claimants alleging cancer from AFFF exposure. The other section was cases filed by municipal governments alleging local water supply contamination.
A new study published on May 3, 2022, by researchers from the Maine Medical Center Research discovered that PFAS found in AFFF poses a previously unknown health risk. According to the study, PFAS exposure can cause reduced bone mineral density in adolescent boys, possibly leading to bone fractures and several other orthopedic problems. This study is further evidence of the dangers of firefighting foam, making it elemental to the ongoing lawsuit.
On March 3, the Plaintiff’s Scientific Committee submitted a letter to the judge in the MDL attaching a couple of documents they identified as “significant new scientific” evidence of the link between cancer and chemicals in the AFFF. The first document was a notice from the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) which identified the chemical in the product as a known carcinogen.
The other was a draft EPA finding identifying PFOA as a “possible” human carcinogen. Despite the defense council submitting their letter on March 15 disputing these two documents’ significance, the connection between cancer and PFOA gained-and is still gaining–momentum.
Defense attorneys filed a motion for partial summary judgement in the lawsuit based on a government contractor immunity argument.
There are over 2,000 plaintiffs in the MDL claims lawsuit housing all federal court cases in South Carolina.
In a huge win, the MDL judge rejected the 3M government contractor’s defense. The party had initially filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that it should be immune from liability for injuries sustained from the AFFF products.
The judge held that the defense was inapplicable since there is evidence that 3M knew about some of the possible hazards of the AFFF products but didn’t warn the government about them.
In addition, the first AFFF lawsuit trial date was set. The judge in the class action MDL announced that the first bellwether case would be picked in December 2022, with the test trial beginning in April 2023. It is worth noting that bellwether cases tend to lead to settlement negotiations, especially if trials yield a significant verdict for a plaintiff.
A status conference was held via telephone allowing the defendants and plaintiffs to provide discovery updates, including deposition scheduling and document production.
A status conference was held in court where updates on discovery status were provided by defendants, plaintiffs and the United States. Most of the conference was spent dealing with disputes between the government and defendants regarding search terms as well as the obligation of the government to look for relevant historical documents.
The plaintiffs and defense took part in a Science Day before the judge. Both sides presented experts in order to respond to questions by the court about several issues
An order was issued by the court mandating that all plaintiffs complete plaintiff fact sheets, including public and private water districts as well as counties and cities. New cases have 98 days from the filing date to provide a plaintiff fact sheet. Defendants, though, only need to provide defense fact sheets for sites identified in a list of sites contaminated by AFFF.
The plaintiffs and defense stood before Judge Gergel for a status conference. Discovery-related updates were provided, including deposition scheduling and document production, as well as a deficiency process regarding plaintiff fact sheets which had been recently served.
A judge ordered all AFFF cases to be consolidated into an MDL which would be overseen by Judge Richard Gergel in the District of South Carolina.
The cases are filed against manufacturers of AFFF containing PFAS. The manufacturers, manufactured, designed, sold and marketed AFFF to chemical plants, airports, fire training centers and fire departments knowing the AFFF would end up in the environment, where it would contaminate drinking water around the country. The lawsuits typically claim plaintiffs were exposed to PFAS and now face a higher risk of health effects like cancer, immune system effects, liver effects, thyroid hormone changes and high cholesterol.
Plaintiffs in the cases include individuals, state attorneys general, public water districts, private water districts, counties and cities.
Oral arguments were presented regarding the AFFF manufacturers’ request to form an MDL.
Multiple AFFF manufacturers asked a judge to consolidate AFFF cases into a multidistrict litigation (MDL). The cases included personal injury cases, class actions and individual lawsuits filed by water districts and municipalities for the costs of treating well heads.
Contact Our Personal Injury Lawyer
The firefighting foam (AFFF) lawsuit against manufacturers is an ongoing process that has seen a number of developments in the recent past. If you or a loved one has been affected by AFFF exposure, it’s important to note that these claims are individual claims and not a part of a class action lawsuit. By filing an individual claim, you may be able to recover more compensation than if you were to join a class action lawsuit. If you’re considering legal action, we recommend contacting Nadrich & Cohen for more information on your options.
Our firefighting foam lawsuit lawyers have the experience and tenacity to fight for you to get the maximum compensation amount you deserve. We do it for you at no cost but will charge a small percentage of your successful recovery. Call us today for a free consultation.
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