Who is Being Sued in The AFFF Firefighting Foam Lawsuit?

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Over the years, numerous businesses have produced firefighting foam that contains dangerous PFAS. The two largest AFFF producers were 3M and DuPont. The fact that the PFAS compounds in AFFF were harmful to the environment was already known to 3M and several other significant AFFF producers by the middle of the 1970s. Early in the 1990s, these businesses also learned that PFAS could harm human health, including an increase in cancer rates. Now, the victims are retaliating by filing lawsuits and claiming compensation for the damages these companies have done to them. Speak with a reputed lawyer to learn more about AFFF lawsuits.

Nationwide cases involving firefighting foam are being brought against the producers of AFFF. There have already been hundreds of AFFF claims filed, and those in federal court have been combined into an MDL class action in South Carolina. An AFFF lawsuit will assert that 3M, DuPont, and other businesses sold their AFFF goods while being aware of the risks to consumers’ health. Not just individuals but States are filing claims related to firefighting foam as well. Most recently, North Carolina filed a lawsuit against DuPont, Chemours, 3M, and other companies because firefighting foam includes harmful chemicals that contaminate groundwater.

What is the AFFF Lawsuit’s Defense?

Defense attorneys who want to keep from having to pay billions of dollars in settlements for AFFF plaintiffs are up against a challenge with the AFFF foam cases. Therefore, 3M, DuPont, Tyco, and the other defendants are attempting to use the government as a crutch to claim they were aware of the dangers of AFFF and asked them to keep making the product despite those dangers.

The government contractor defense, a philosophy that protects contractors from culpability for damages from items satisfying particular criteria to achieve military objectives, is an attempt to conceal oneself behind the government. They claim that the same AFFF specifications that called for fluorocarbon surfactant were written, issued, revised, and enforced by the government in addition to being “authorized” by it.

Recently, 3M used this defense in the earplug dispute. Because there was no competitive bidding process that would have permitted the military to accept specific design criteria and because the military had not requested a design proposal for the earplugs, the MDL class action court, in that case, dismissed the government-contractor defense.

The defendants contend that they were compelled to utilize fluorocarbons in the product in their motion for partial summary judgment submitted on behalf of the AFFF class action case in the MDL. The AFFF attorneys for the plaintiff will contend in their rebuttal that the defendant’s design specification lacked sufficient specificity. More significantly, the defendants are no longer protected by this concept because they failed to disclose the risks associated with PFAS. Educating the military on the specific risk of a PFAS in AFFF is very different from understanding what is in a product and being aware that it might be problematic in some situations. This motion was rejected by the court in September 2022. The plaintiffs had a major victory with this. 

Many reputable law firms are looking to file AFFF litigation on behalf of their clients. The recent developments have been encouraging, and more affected people are contacting their attorneys to bring the culprits to justice and to win a financial settlement that covers all their losses. 

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