PFAS contamination throughout the United States is a serious public health threat. PFAS is also called forever chemicals because it doesn’t break down in the environment. Due to the widespread threat to public health, municipalities and individuals throughout the United States filed thousands of lawsuits. Therefore, the plaintiffs seek recovery of damages related to the injuries and cleanup costs caused by forever chemicals.
Fire Fighting Foam Lawsuits in Federal Court
Due to large numbers of lawsuits, the federal courts consolidated all fire foam lawsuits in federal court in Charleston, North Carolina. A panel of judges assigned to decide management of nationwide civil litigation assigned these cases to Judge Gergel. These lawsuits include the following legal claims:
- Fire fighters claiming cancer and disease from work exposures
- Municipal Water Providers seeking cost recovery
- Airports seeking cleanup costs
- Consumers claiming cancer and disease from drinking water
What is an MDL?
MDL stands for Multi District Litigation. When similar lawsuits filed in multiple jurisdictions, the parties can file to seek an order consolidating all cases to one judge. This procedure helps the courts and parties manage nationwide litigation. The benefits for all cases include:
- Uniform rulings
- Exchange of evidence
- Taking of testimony
- Trials of test cases
Ultimately, MDLs provide benefits to the courts and the parties when many suits are filed across the country. The process also facilitates resolution.
Who are the AFFF MDL defendants?
The defendants are the manufacturers and distributors of AFFF products. These products contained PFAS. Plaintiffs allege the defendants knew PFAS was a danger to the public. The defendants include 3M, Dupont/Chemours, Chemguard, Tyco, National Foam, Kidde, Buckeye, Arkema, and many others
What is happening in the AFFF MDL?
Overall, the presiding Judge has issued orders managing the discovery of the lawsuits. Discovery is the process to prepare cases for trial. The parties exchange information, usually in the form of documents. The parties also take the recorded testimony of witnesses. Judge Gergel set several trials to starting in 2023. These are called bellwether trials. These trials help the parties determine the strengths and weaknesses of the claims. This information provides the parties with insight on how to settle the litigation. If the plaintiffs win large verdicts, then one can anticipate a nationwide settlement that will fairly compensate the claimants. To be included you must file a lawsuit.