AFFF Lawsuit Update

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Picture of Researcher: Ariana Arce​

Researcher: Ariana Arce​

a.arce@legalhelpadvisor.com

Picture of Journalist: Aaron Vivanco

Journalist: Aaron Vivanco

a.vivanco@legalhelpadvisor.com

Picture of Editor: Daniela Polo

Editor: Daniela Polo

d.polo@legalhelpadvisor.com

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AFFF Lawsuit Update

The AFFF Firefighting Lawsuit states that manufacturers knew this foam contained toxic chemicals known as polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as forever chemicals. These substances have been related to cancer risk and other diseases among firefighters. They are now fighting back to hold all these corporations accountable.

If you or someone you know have seen their health compromised by these substances, you can reach out and contact legal help to see if your case qualifies for a lawsuit.

Firefighter with personal protection equipment using Firefighting Foam to extinguish a fire.

AFFF Lawsuit Latest Updates

The Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) for the AFFF Firefighting Lawsuit began in 2018 to handle all the cases. This decision was made considering the growing number of complaints that appeared in the United States Legal System. Already 950 cases were filed just by early 2021, and this number has exponentially increased to this date. The outcomes of these bellwether trials will set an expectation for future settlements.

June 2023: 3M reaches a settlement before the first AFFF Lawsuit trial

3M has recently come into an agreement in order settle lawsuits where the claims were made that toxic “forever chemicals” had contaminated water supplies in the United States.

According to a statement released by 3M, the company has agreed to pay public water suppliers up to $10.3 billion over a 13-year period as part of a settlement. This is in response to the detection of certain substances in drinking water across the nation.

The trial for the AFFF class action lawsuit, scheduled to start on June 5th, has been postponed due to a joint motion filed by the Plaintiff Leadership Committee and 3M. The motion stated that negotiations were ongoing and close to resolution, and the attorneys believed it was best to focus on settlement rather than trial preparations.

Some people praise “forever chemicals” for their use in nonstick cookware and waterproof or stain-resistant products. Others fear their potential toxicity. Their use has resulted in lawsuits by towns and cities across the U.S. to purify water. Firefighters and first responders who believe the chemicals affected their health have also filed suits.

March 2023

The cases keep piling up in the District of South Carolina. A new case brought attention to the AFFF Lawsuit on March 2, 2023. A Texas individual, who served as a military firefighter in the Marine Corps, claims he developed prostate cancer due to his occupational exposure to the AFFF Firefighting Foam. More detail on this claim can be found here.

As the number of lawsuits grows, it is hoped that the judge will take the first steps toward a settlement for all parties involved in the AFFF Lawsuit.

February 2023

Suddenly, the number of pending cases in the MDL went up to 3,704. Judge Richard Gergel, who is in charge of the MDL proceedings, is set to make crucial decisions on Daubert motions, indicating that he will challenge the admissibility of scientific evidence.

Finally, the date for the first bellwether trial, City of Stuart v. 3M Co., is set. The parties involved in the AFFF Lawsuit should present their arguments on June 5, 2023. In addition, this is a water supply contamination case; however, the rulings of this trial could impact the evidence presented in the cancer lawsuits.

January 2023

Some of the defendants are claiming to be excluded from the first bellwether trial (City of Stuart v. 3M Co.) this June 2023, stating that the plaintiff’s scientific experts do not have enough proof to make the connection between their products and the victims’ symptoms.

Until now, 3,387 cases accumulated on an MDL in the District of South Carolina, presided over by Judge Richard Gergel.

2022 Summary from the AFFF Lawsuits

The year began with a total of 2,034 plaintiffs involved in the AFFF Lawsuit. This indicates that the workload for the court in the District of South Carolina kept growing, without settlement talks in sight.

In addition, 3M, which is one of the main defendants, tried to bring up a government contract immunity argument in February 2022. Conversely, scientific research gained momentum, and a new study connected the PFAS in the firefighting foam with reduced bone mineral density.

The plaintiffs in the AFFF MDL asked the court in June to be transparent about the communications between DuPont and Chemours Co., which are the two main corporations related to the case. The plaintiff alleged that DuPont created Chemours to get rid of liabilities in a fraudulent transfer, but the defendants filed a response in opposition.

The judge in charge of the AFFF Lawsuits MDL rejected 3M’s government contractor defense on September 2022. The company tried to claim immunity for liabilities related to its AFFF Firefighting Foam.

A month later, the court decided on the lawsuit for the first bellwether trial. It went for the City of Stuart v. 3M Company case, in which the city is seeking compensation for the damages to its water system, contaminated with PFAS present in firefighting foam.

Finally, a settlement mediator is selected in the person of Layn Phillips, who is a retired judge. Approximately 1,300 AFFF Lawsuits were added to the MDL by the end of 2022.

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