Stag Liuzza represents hundreds of firefighters who have developed cancer or other serious injuries due to their exposure to Aqueous Film Forming Foams (“AFFF”). We also represent municipalities and airports for contamination of their properties or water systems as a result of AFFF.
What is AFFF?
AFFF is used to extinguish liquid fuel fires and is frequently used at airports, military bases and certain industrial locations. AFFFs contain perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid. Exposure to these toxic chemicals has been associated with serious side effects, including cancer.
These man-made chemicals are known as “forever chemicals” because once they enter the bloodstream, they never leave. Defendants in the case are manufacturers of AFFF and manufacturers of the underlying chemicals used to make AFFF.
Where are AFFF cases filed?
Cases are consolidated in Federal Court in South Carolina before Judge Richard Gergel. Such consolidation is known as a multi-district litigation (MDL). Establishing an MDL is common and allows one judge to oversee all pretrial discovery in cases where there exist common questions of fact.
How long does an AFFF lawsuit take?
There are thousands of AFFF cases pending before Judge Gergel. Litigation is generally a lengthy process, but Judge Gergel has overseen MDLs before and has formulated a plan to efficiently handle the AFFF cases.
General discovery related to all cases is ongoing, The parties have exchanged millions of pages of documents and taken dozens of depositions. Judge Gergel has ordered case specific discovery in a few cases where the plaintiffs are cities whose water is contaminated with “forever chemicals” due to AFFF use.
He will try these cases before turning his attention to firefighter cases. He believes that trying them first will decide common legal and factual issues that apply to all cases. These first trials are supposed to be indicative of how each individual case may turn out and how a jury may value the cases. They also help the parties identify the strongest legal arguments.
There have not been cases scheduled for further workup or trials in firefighter cases. But in preparation, firefighter causation and liability experts have been retained and we continue to work to evaluate additional experts.