AFFF Lawsuit: A Comprehensive Overview

Firefighter

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The AFFF lawsuit refers to legal action taken against manufacturers of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), a firefighting foam widely used for suppressing fuel fires. These lawsuits allege that AFFF contains per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are linked to serious health issues and environmental contamination.

Plaintiffs in these cases include firefighters, military personnel, and communities affected by PFAS, seeking damages for health impacts and environmental cleanup costs.

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Latest AFFF Lawsuit Update

As of January 2024, significant developments are unfolding in the litigation surrounding Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF), a substance linked to environmental and health risks. Following New Hampshire’s lead, The State of Washington initiated an AFFF disposal initiative to collect and remediate AFFF from municipal fire stations.

This initiative is part of a broader response to the chronic risks AFFF poses to the environment and human health. Concurrently, Hawaii has joined several states in suing major AFFF manufacturers like 3M and DuPont, seeking damages for deceptive marketing practices and costs incurred in investigations and remediation efforts related to PFAS contamination.

In the multidistrict litigation (MDL) context, the discovery process for AFFF bellwether trials is advancing, as ordered by Judge Gergel. These trials, the first of their kind for AFFF personal injury cases, follow disputes over 3M and DuPont’s settlements with municipal water suppliers.

The rapid growth of the AFFF lawsuit, with 244 new cases filed in the past 30 days, reflects the increasing legal actions against AFFF manufacturers. The litigation is at a crucial juncture, with both sides facing a January 31, 2024, deadline to resolve discovery disputes amidst a noticeable increase in advertising for firefighter foam lawsuits.

Why Are Victims Filing AFFF Lawsuits?

Victims are filing AFFF lawsuits because they believe that exposure to AFFF has led to serious health complications and environmental contamination, and they seek damages from the manufacturers for these impacts.

PFAS, specifically found in AFFF, has been linked to various health problems. Research suggests that elevated levels of certain PFAS compounds in the body are associated with increased risks of cancers, hormone disruptions, and other health issues. Firefighters, military personnel, and residents in areas where AFFF has been extensively used are among those concerned about the potential long-term health effects of exposure to these toxic chemicals alone.

Additionally, environmental concerns arising from the use of AFFF. PFAS are known to be persistent in the environment, meaning they don’t break down easily and can accumulate over time. This persistence can lead to contamination of water supplies, soil, and other ecological systems, posing risks not only to human health but also to wildlife and the broader environment.

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Health Implications of AFFF

The main health implication in AFFF lawsuit cases is the alleged link between exposure to PFAS, chemicals found in aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), and an increased risk of cancers, especially testicular and kidney cancer. Plaintiffs in these lawsuits claim that the manufacturers knew or should have known about these risks.

Known Injuries and Side Effects

Exposure to AFFF, specifically due to the presence of PFAS chemicals, has been associated with a range of potential health issues beyond prostate cancer. Here is a list of other known injuries or side effects linked to AFFF exposure:

  • Hormone disruption
  • Reproductive problems and decreased fertility
  • Weakened immune system response
  • Elevated cholesterol levels
  • Changes in liver enzymes
  • Increased risk of thyroid disease

Developmental issues in infants and children, including potential lower birth weights and impacts on learning abilities.

It’s worth noting that research is ongoing, and the full spectrum of health effects related to PFAS exposure is still being explored.

Eligibility for Victims and Legal Procedures

Individuals who believe they have suffered health complications or damages due to exposure to the aqueous film-forming foam containing PFAS chemicals are eligible to file an AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit. This includes firefighters, military personnel, and residents of areas where AFFF was extensively used or disposed of, leading to contamination.

Am I Eligible to File an AFFF Lawsuit?

Eligibility factors for filing an AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit include direct exposure to AFFF, typically through occupational or residential contact, a confirmed diagnosis of associated health conditions (like certain cancers or other PFAS-related ailments), and evidence that the exposure contributed to the health condition.

Those in professions that frequently used AFFF, such as firefighters and military personnel, often meet the exposure criterion. Residents living near military bases or airports where AFFF was used or disposed of may also be eligible due to environmental exposure. The link between the exposure and the ailment becomes a critical component, as plaintiffs need to demonstrate that their health issues are a result of contact with the chemicals in AFFF, rather than other unrelated factors.

Steps to File an AFFF Lawsuit

Here are the general steps to file an AFFF lawsuit:

  1. Consultation with an attorney: Begin by consulting with an attorney who has experience in AFFF or similar toxic exposure lawsuits. They can assess the merits of your case and guide you through the subsequent steps.
  2. Gathering evidence: Collect all necessary documentation and evidence, such as medical records, proof of AFFF exposure (employment records, residential proximity to known AFFF usage areas), and any other pertinent information that supports your claim.
  3. Filing the complaint: Your attorney will draft a legal document called a complaint. This document outlines the basis of your lawsuit, the damages you’re seeking, and the parties you’re suing. The complaint is then filed in the appropriate court.

Potential Compensation and Settlements

In past AFFF lawsuit settlements, significant compensation amounts have been awarded. For instance, DuPont and Chemours agreed in 2017 to pay $670.7 million related to PFOA pollution at the Washington Works Plant, and in March 2020, DuPont was ordered to pay $50 million to a man alleging that PFOA-contaminated water led to his testicular and prostate cancer there.

In a separate case on January 7, 2021, Tyco Fire Products, L.P., ChemDesign Inc., and Chemguard Inc. settled for $17.5 million over alleged drinking water well contamination in Peshtigo, Wisconsin. Based on prior litigations, current AFFF lawsuit estimations suggest top-tier plaintiffs may receive $200,000 to $500,000, while lower tiers might expect amounts ranging from $75,000 to $300,000.

All AFFF Lawsuit Updates

January 2024

Washington and Hawaii are actively addressing AFFF contamination, with Washington launching a disposal initiative and Hawaii suing AFFF manufacturers like 3M and DuPont for deceptive practices and environmental damage. Concurrently, the AFFF multidistrict litigation (MDL) is progressing, with the discovery process for bellwether trials underway and an increasing number of lawsuits reflecting the growing legal focus on AFFF-related health and environmental risks.

December 2023

Hawaii’s Attorney General has sued 25 manufacturers of firefighting foam containing harmful PFAS, seeking damages for environmental and health risks. This case joins a larger federal litigation involving companies like 3M, with upcoming bellwether trials to address numerous claims of PFAS-related health hazards and water contamination.

November 2023

The AFFF class action lawsuit, dealing with water contamination issues, has been marked by delays, highlighted by the death of three plaintiffs, as indicated by “Suggestion of Death” notices. The MDL has grown significantly, now encompassing 6,400 cases, half of which are settled municipal water contamination claims, with the remainder being individual personal injury claims.

October 2023

A recent study set to appear in eBioMedicine, a Lancet journal, found that individuals with higher levels of a specific type of PFAS, termed linear perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), have an increased likelihood of developing thyroid cancer. Specifically, the study found that the chances of developing thyroid cancer rose by 56% for those with elevated concentrations of linear PFOS.

September 2023

Judge Gergel took Alex Murdaugh’s guilty plea and might focus on scheduling AFFF personal injury bellwether trials.

Bellwether cases are set to involve four water utility lawsuits, with some major company claims paused; a trial schedule is anticipated for AFFF-related personal injury and wrongful death suits.

August 2023

Judge Gergel asked AFFF lawyers to provide updates on significant litigation events; a related EPA Press Release emphasized the dangers of PFAS chemicals. Approximately 1,000 new cases were added to the AFFF MDL, bringing the total plaintiff count to 5,614.

July 2023

A record 493 new cases were added to the AFFF MDL, increasing the total to over 5,000 pending cases; the breakdown between water contamination and cancer cases remains unknown. With DuPont and 3M settlements underway, the focus is anticipated to shift toward military and firefighter AFFF lawsuits.

June 2023

The Plaintiff Leadership Committee and 3M requested a trial delay due to ongoing negotiations, with speculations surrounding a potential $10 billion offer by 3M to address municipality claims. Hopes rise for individual settlements for victims suffering from PFAS exposure following potential municipal lawsuit resolutions.

May 2023

The Environmental Working Group reported an estimated $30 billion cost for the U.S. to clean up PFAS contamination at military bases, but the Department of Defense allocated only $1.4 billion. The first trial AFFF lawsuit will admit the EPA’s proposed PFAS drinking water limits as evidence, bolstering the plaintiff’s case.

April 2023

The CDC introduced the National Firefighter Registry to study elevated cancer rates among firefighters, a part of President Biden’s “Cancer Moonshot” initiative. The AFFF cancer risks, once a hypothesis, are now widely acknowledged as fact.

March 2023

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) filed a lawsuit against the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in Massachusetts, accusing them of mandating a testing standard using harmful PFAS in firefighter gear. The IAFF seeks to hold NFPA accountable for not removing the hazardous test from its firefighting protective ensemble standards.

February 2022

A significant surge in firefighting foam AFFF lawsuits was observed, with 317 new cases added, bringing the total to 3,704 – nearly double the monthly average from 2022. Critical rulings are anticipated from the AFFF MDL Judge on Daubert motions concerning the City of Stuart v. 3M Co. case, which will set a precedent for the admissibility of scientific evidence in related firefighting foam AFFF cases.

January 2023

A motion for dismissal was presented by some defendants in an upcoming AFFF trial, claiming no expert evidence linked their chemicals to the case’s water contamination; plaintiffs countered with their expert testimonies. The AFFF MDL observed a decline in new case additions with only 49 cases added, potentially due to the holiday season or indicating a trend in slowing litigation growth.

AFFF FAQs

AFFF foam is not globally banned, but its use has been restricted or phased out in several countries due to environmental and health concerns. In the U.S., the military has been working to phase out its use of legacy AFFF but hasn’t entirely banned it.

Fluorine-free foams (F3) have been developed as alternatives to AFFF foams. This new product offers firefighting capabilities without the environmental and health risks associated with PFAS compounds.

The U.S. Navy has been transitioning away from AFFF containing PFAS and is actively seeking alternatives, though legacy stocks may still be in use.

Fluorine-free foams (FFF) are considered safer alternatives to AFFF as they don’t contain harmful PFAS chemicals.

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Health Problems From AFFF?

Are you suffering from health issues due to AFFF? You may be entitled to compensation. Get in touch with our team for a free assessment.

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Latest Update

Victims Filing AFFF

Health Implications

Eligibility

All Lawsuit Updates

FAQs

Case Status:
Ongoing (over 6,000 cases in MDL)

Defendants:
Chemical manufacturers, including 3M, DuPont, and Tyco

Injuries:
Cancer and other illnesses