Fanning the Flames: AFFF Litigation Heats Up

Aqueous Film-Forming Foam, or AFFF, is a type of foam used to put out fires, especially those caused by flammable liquids. It’s been helpful for firefighters, especially in military and civil emergencies. But, there’s a downside. AFFF contains per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which can be harmful to human health.

The Legal Battle:

AFFF has been at the center of numerous lawsuits due to its links to health issues, particularly cancer.

  • Multi-District Litigation (MDL): These lawsuits were grouped together under Judge Richard M. Gergel in Charleston, South Carolina. The MDL format helps organize the early steps of the trial process, making it simpler to handle lots of cases that share similar facts.
  • Health Risks: Studies have found that PFAS, which are found in AFFF, _can be linked to several kinds of cancer, including kidney and thyroid cancer. It can also cause other health problems, such as thyroid disease and harm to the liver.

Recent Developments:

  • Case Numbers:  Per the MDL’s Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee, about 24,000 plaintiff fact sheets have been served.
  • Thyroid Cancer Link: A study found a 56% increase in thyroid cancer risk among people exposed to higher levels of linear PFOS (a type of PFAS chemical in firefighting foam).
  • Bellwether Candidates: Parties in the lawsuit have identified candidates for personal injury trials.

Key Dates and Decisions:

  • DuPont Public Water Supplier Settlement (February 2024): Approved settlement.
  • 3M Public Water Supplier Settlement (March 2024): Opt-outs allowed to participate in the settlement.
  • Additional Injuries Identified (March 13, 2024): Liver and thyroid cancer
  • Case Management Order No. 28 (CMO 28):
    • Unlisted Claims: Plaintiffs with injuries not covered by CMO 26 (e.g., kidney cancer, testicular cancer, hypothyroidism, ulcerative colitis) can dismiss their claims without prejudice within 90 days.
    • Refiling Requirements: If refiling, lawsuits must be in the MDL (unless concluded) and include complete medical records within 135 days and expert reports on causation within 180 days.

We continue to investigate personal injury cases where people have been exposed to firefighting foam containing highly toxic PFAS chemicals. Contact us today!

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