AFFF Lawsuits Against 3M, Dupont | Latest Status
The utilization of Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) to subdue fires has sparked worries regarding potential impacts on the environment and human health. Legal actions against prominent AFFF producers have pushed this matter into the spotlight, calling for explanations and responsibility.
According to Bloomberg Law, 3M is negotiating a potential settlement over water pollution claims in a multidistrict litigation case. DuPont and its spinoff companies have also offered settlements for cleanup costs. However, these settlements may not release the companies from other potential liabilities.
What Is Aqueous Firefighting Foam?
AFFF is a firefighting foam designed to swiftly extinguish potentially explosive liquid fires by creating a water film on burning surfaces. This film separates the fuel from oxygen, halting the fire’s spread. Moreover, AFFF contains perfluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), synthetic compounds with strong carbon-fluorine bonds, providing remarkable heat, water, and chemical resistance.
What Is the Firefighting Foam Lawsuit About?
The firefighting foam lawsuit involves legal action against Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) manufacturers. AFFF contains harmful PFAS chemicals that can contaminate water and pose health risks. Firefighters and communities are suing manufacturers for health issues and environmental damage due to PFAS exposure from the foam. The lawsuits allege that manufacturers knew about the risks but failed to adequately warn users.
Who’s Involved in the AFFF Lawsuit?
The AFFF lawsuit involves two parties:
Plaintiffs are the individuals, communities, or government entities that have filed firefighting foam lawsuits against the manufacturers of AFFF. Such as:
- Military and Navy Personnel
- Airport Personnel
- Residents in proximity to AFFF manufacturing facilities
The individuals filing the lawsuit allege that they have experienced negative effects due to their exposure to PFAS chemicals found in AFFF (aqueous film-forming foam). Their grievances encompass health problems stemming from PFAS exposure, along with ecological harm resulting from the pollution of water sources and ecosystems. The plaintiffs are aiming to secure justice, compensation, and accountability from the manufacturers of AFFF for the harm caused.
The defendants in the AFFF lawsuits are the significant manufacturers and distributors of firefighting foam, including companies like 3M and Dupont. These allegations claim that manufacturers did not adequately warn users about the potential risks of PFAS. They also claimed that the defendants were aware of the hazards but did not implement appropriate safety precautions.
What Are the Legal Claims of Plaintiffs?
The plaintiffs firmly believe that the manufacturers of AFFF were well aware of the potential dangers of PFAS chemicals for a long time. Despite this knowledge, the firefighting foam manufacturers allegedly kept using and promoting AFFF without proper warnings or implementing safety measures.
The key claims against AFFF manufacturers include the following:
Plaintiffs argue that the firefighting foam manufacturers were negligent in their duty to ensure the safety of their products. They should have taken more precautions to protect people and the environment from the harmful effects of PFAS.
- Failure to Warn
Victims of AFFF exposure claim that the manufacturers knew about the risks but didn’t adequately warn firefighters, communities, and other users about the potential dangers of AFFF.
- Health Issues
The current AFFF lawsuits highlight that exposure to PFAS through firefighting foam has resulted in severe health concerns. These health issues range from moderate problems like thyroid disease to more severe conditions like kidney cancer, testicular cancer, and prostate cancer. Consequently, the victims seek accountability for these harmful effects.
- Environmental Damage
AFFF usage has also raised concerns about environmental damage due to PFAS contamination. Plaintiffs argue that this pollution has harmed water sources, wildlife, and ecosystems, and AFFF manufacturers should be held responsible for the cleanup and restoration.
What Are the Health Risks of Toxic Firefighting Foam?
Research has shown that AFFF exposure has a range of potential health risks, making it a matter of concern. Some of the health concerns revealed are:
Studies have suggested that exposure to PFAS may increase the risk of certain types of cancer, including kidney, testicular, prostate, and thyroid cancers. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified PFAS chemicals as cancer-causing substances for humans.
PFAS can interfere with the endocrine system, leading to disruptions in hormone levels, which may cause adverse health effects, particularly in vulnerable populations like pregnant women and infants.
Liver and Immune System Effects
Prolonged exposure to PFAS has associations with adverse effects on the liver and immune system, potentially leading to liver damage and reduced immunity against infections.
Studies have indicated that exposure to PFAS during pregnancy could result in low birth weights and other developmental issues in infants.
What Are the Key Developments in the AFFF Lawsuit?
Since the first firefighting foam case was filed in 2017, the AFFF lawsuit has unfolded several significant events, making it a complex legal battle. Here are the key milestones in the current AFFF lawsuit update:
April 2023 – Bellwether Trial Expected
There are over 2500 pending AFFF lawsuits under AFFF class action MDL no. 2873 in South Carolina, and a bellwether trial was anticipated in April 2023. This trial can set a precedent for the remaining AFFF lawsuits and may influence future AFFF lawsuit settlements.
June 2023 – First Bellwether Trial Scheduled
The first Bellwether trial involving a Florida city’s lawsuit against AFFF companies for water contamination was scheduled for June 2023. This trial could significantly impact the outcomes of other cases.
July 2023 – AFFF Settlements Begin
In July 2023, settlements for AFFF-related lawsuits commenced, specifically for municipalities filing claims due to PFAS contamination. Notably, 3M is reportedly close to paying $10 billion, and DuPont has offered $1.19 billion for drinking water cleanup costs.
How Will the AFFF Class Action Lawsuit Be Settled?
The class action AFFF lawsuit settlement is expected to be resolved through a large-scale payment involving multiple AFFF firefighting foam cases. In this type of settlement, the defendants will contribute significant money to create a fund to compensate individual plaintiffs who agree to accept the settlement.
The amount of compensation each complainant receives will depend on a ranking system. Therefore, those with more vigorous AFFF cancer lawsuits will be placed in the top tier and receive higher settlement payouts.
For example, plaintiffs with long-term exposure to AFFF and diagnosed with more dangerous cancer types like kidney and testicular cancer will likely be in the top tier. On the other hand, those with less exposure or less severe cancer types will be in lower tiers and receive less compensation.
What to Do Next if You Are a Victim of AFFF Exposure?
If you developed cancer due to occupational exposure to AFFF, you stand a chance to be a part of firefighting foam cancer lawsuits. Moreover, even if you’re a civilian who lives near facilities that use AFFF or manufacture it, you have the legal right to pursue a firefighting foam lawsuit.
Here are some important steps to follow after your AFFF foam exposure and cancer diagnosis:
Step 1: Consult with AFFF lawyers
First and foremost, consult with firefighting foam attorneys with experience in mass tort cases. Having an experienced attorney by your side ensures that your AFFF foam lawsuit is strong and you receive the compensation you deserve.
Step 2: Gather Evidence
With the help of your firefighting foam attorney, gather evidence of your occupational exposure. For instance, work history and work environment proof. This evidence is crucial to strengthen your case.
Step 3: Collect Medical Records
Compile your medical records for evidence of a cancer diagnosis and provide them to your firefighting lawyer. Experienced firefighting foam cancer lawyers have access to medical experts who can help review your medical records and create a link between your cancer diagnosis and AFFF exposure.
Step 4: File an Afff Lawsuit
After gathering evidence, your firefighting foam attorney will file your AFFF lawsuit and work to secure a fair settlement on your behalf. Additionally, your firefighting foam lawyer will keep you informed and provide guidance, striving to obtain the compensation you deserve for the harm caused by AFFF exposure.
Step 5: Negotiate Settlements
An AFFF lawyer will advocate for you during settlement negotiations. In addition, your AFFF lawyer will assess the case, communicate with the defendants, and present evidence to support the compensation claim. Your lawyer’s expertise and negotiation skills aim to secure a fair settlement that addresses your injuries and damages.
Step 6: Proceed to Court
If your AFFF case doesn’t settle, your lawyer will be your advocate in court. The lawyer will thoroughly prepare your case, present compelling arguments, and call witnesses to support your claim. Moreover, throughout the trial, your lawyer will protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve for the harm caused by AFFF exposure.
Have You Suffered Due to AFFF Exposure? Let Uptown Injury Be Your Advocate
If you’ve suffered from firefighting foam exposure, you deserve compensation and accountability. Don’t face this alone Uptown Injury is here to support you every step of the way. Our experienced team of firefighting foam lawyers understands the complexities of these cases.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing an AFFF Lawsuit?
The statute of limitations for AFFF lawsuits varies by state and type of claim. But it’s typically 2-3 years from the discovery of the injury. However, most states have a discovery rule that extends the deadline. The discovery rule delays the time limit until the plaintiff becomes aware of the injury and its link to the defendant’s negligence. However, you must consult an AFFF lawyer promptly to determine the specific time frame for filing your lawsuit.
What Is an AFFF MDL (Multidistrict Litigation)?
AFFF firefighting foam MDL is a legal process to combine similar cases from different federal courts under one judge. As a result, it streamlines proceedings, avoids duplication, and promotes efficiency in handling complex mass tort cases like those involving firefighting foam.
Who Can File an AFFF Lawsuit?
Individuals exposed to AFFF and consequently suffering from health issues can file an AFFF lawsuit for personal injury claims. Moreover, municipalities that experienced PFAS water contamination due to AFFF usage may also file lawsuits and seek compensation.
Can I File an AFFF Lawsuit if I Am a Firefighter or Military Personnel?
Yes, if you have experienced exposure to AFFF during service, you can file an AFFF lawsuit. In fact, many AFFF lawsuits involve firefighters and military personnel who encountered PFAS chemicals in the firefighting foam during their service. However, it is essential to consult an experienced AFFF lawyer. They will evaluate your case and determine if you have grounds for a lawsuit.
What Should I Do if I Suspect AFFF Exposure and Related Health Issues?
If you suspect AFFF exposure and are experiencing related health issues, take immediate action to protect your well-being. First, seek medical attention to address health concerns and get a proper diagnosis. Secondly, consult an experienced AFFF lawyer. They can guide you through potential legal actions to seek compensation for your injuries and damages.
What Damages Can I Seek in an AFFF Lawsuit?
In an AFFF lawsuit, you can seek compensation for several damages. For instance, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage resulting from AFFF exposure. Furthermore, you may sometimes seek punitive damages to hold the responsible parties accountable. Nevertheless, an experienced AFFF attorney can advise you on the damages you may have the right to claim in your case.
Is There a Cost to Hire an AFFF Lawyer?
Many AFFF lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means they only get paid if they secure a fair AFFF settlement or verdict for you. Moroever, initial consultations are often free so that you can discuss your case without any financial obligation.