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AFFF - Timeline of events

Recent AFFF lawsuit developments

  • November 2023 update: By the end of this month, the parties will have selected the cases that will be included in the bellwether discovery pool for the AFFF personal injury cases. According to Case Management Order 26A, which was issued last month, the parties have until November 14, 2023, to exchange their proposed lists of plaintiffs who will be selected as bellwether candidates. The plaintiffs will subsequently go through a process of case-specific fact discovery, following which some of them will be selected for the actual personal injury bellwether trials.
  • October 2023 update: The AFFF class action MDL has surpassed 6,000 after 111 new cases were added to it over the last month. A large number of these pending cases involve water contamination claims and have already been resolved by the global settlement deal this summer.
  • September 2023 update: Judge Gergel informed all involved that the upcoming bellwether cases will draw from 4 water utility lawsuits stemming from towns in New Jersey, New York, California, and South Dakota. Although claims against DuPont, 3M, and Chemours are paused pending settlement approval, companies like Tyco, Daikin, and ACG Chemicals remain unsettled. Lawyers representing plaintiffs will focus on these cases from now on.
  • August 2023 update: Tyco is pushing the MDL judge to keep its suit looking for insurance coverage related to insurance coverage for AFFF lawsuits in the MDL. In response to four insurers' attempts to dismiss the case, the company asserts the suit was correctly filed in the MDL and jurisdiction is proper in South Carolina. Tyco's argument is that its insurance claims are tied to the allegations central to the MDL. Furthermore, a new AFFF lawsuit was filed in AFFF MDL in South Carolina against the usual cast of characters. The plaintiff, a 73-year-old Texas man, was exposed to PFAS during his service as a firefighter in the U.S. Air Force. He alleges that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer because of AFFF exposure, which has caused the man to undergo a prostatectomy. His lawsuit seeks compensation for pain, suffering, and other damages.
  • July 2023 update: Over the last month, 300 more AFFF lawsuits were added to the MDL, bringing the total number of claims up to 4,793. A total of 1,454 new AFFF cases have been added to the MDL since the start of the year. Moreover, 493 new cases were transferred into the AFFF MDL over the last month.
  • June 2023 update: Approximately 300 more AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits were added to the MDL, bringing the total number of claims to 4,793. A total of 1,454 new cases have been added to the MDL since the beginning of the year.
  • May 2023 update: The National Institute of Standards and Technology published a study on the presence of PFAS in the turnout gear of firefighters, examining 20 different textiles involved in the manufacturing of the equipment. The findings indicate that each textile contains between one and 17 PFAS, with outer layers having greater concentrations.
  • March 2023 update: A 62-year-old Texas man was exposed to PFAS from AFFF during his service as a firefighter in the U.S. Marine Corps. The exposure resulted in his diagnosis of prostate cancer and subsequent prostatectomy. His lawsuit claims he experienced personal injuries, pain, suffering, and emotional distress as a consequence of his AFFF exposure.
  • January 2023 update: Roughly 317 new AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits have been added to the MDL, bringing the number of pending cases to 3,704. The monthly average of new cases in 2022 was 175, meaning this month was nearly double that. Furthermore, a group of 3 defendants – Tyco, BASF, and Chemguard Inc. – filed Summary Judgment motions, trying to get themselves out of the first bellwether AFFF trial before it goes to trial in May 2023.
  • December 2022 update: Another 100 new cases were added to the AFFF MDL between November 15, 2022, and December 15, 2022. This brings the number of pending cases to 3,399. During 2022, the AFFF lawsuit added 1,300 new cases, a growth rate of almost 50%.
  • September 2022 update: 3M's government contractor defense in the AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits was rejected by the MDL judge. The company had sought summary judgment because it manufactured AFFF under a government contract and should be immune from liability. The court disagreed and determined that the government contractor defense could not apply since 3M withheld information from the government about the health risks of AFFF exposure.
  • April 2021 update: In a product liability lawsuit filed against various chemical and safety equipment manufacturers, a worker in the hydraulic fracturing industry alleged that exposure to the PFAS in AFFF caused him to develop prostate cancer. Moreover, in a complaint brought in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina against more than a dozen different companies, a volunteer firefighter claimed that his prostate cancer diagnosis resulted from exposure to AFFF that was used during training and response exercises.
  • March 2021 update: In a case filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, a man claimed he was diagnosed with testicular cancer from AFFF that was used throughout his career, including during training exercises and when extinguishing actual fires. Furthermore, a firefighter from Georgia filed a product liability lawsuit against multiple chemical and safety equipment manufacturing companies, alleging his exposure to AFFF led to cancer. Lastly, after a lifetime of service for the Scottsdale Fire Department, a man from Arizona claimed he was diagnosed with prostate cancer due to exposure to AFFF, which was extensively used during training and response exercises.
  • February 2021 update: In a complaint filed in South Carolina, a Florida man claimed he developed kidney cancer caused by AFFF used regularly while working on an aircraft carrier and submarine. Following years of exposure to AFFF while working on an aircraft carrier and submarine, a former U.S. Navy engineer alleged he was diagnosed with kidney cancer. He filed a product liability complaint against the AFFF manufacturers, claiming they showed reckless disregard for the health of those exposed to their products. Finally, in a complaint filed in South Carolina, a former firefighter alleged he was diagnosed with prostate cancer following years of exposure to AFFF during his military career at air force bases and working at a civilian fire department.
  • January 2021 update: A complaint was brought by a man and his wife in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, claiming he developed cancer after he was regularly exposed to AFFF. The man worked as a firefighter at a Louisiana International Airport from 1995 to 2002, where AFFF was routinely used during training exercises and in response to fuel-based fires. Moreover, a Texas firefighter filed a product liability lawsuit that alleged the toxic chemicals in the firefighting foam caused him to develop testicular cancer after years of exposure throughout his career. Lastly, a former career firefighter claimed he developed colon cancer following exposure to AFFF over nearly four decades of fighting fuel-based fires. In a product liability complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, the firefighter indicated that many safety equipment and chemical manufacturers, including 3M Company and Tyco Fire Products, should be held liable for his diagnosis.

AFFF litigation developments in previous years

The first wave of AFFF lawsuits was filed in 2017, and by 2018, enough firefighting foam cases were pending in federal courts across the country to prompt the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to consolidate them into a new class action MDL. The AFFF firefighting foam class action lawsuit was created in December 2018 and assigned to Judge Richard Gergel in the U.S. District Court for South Carolina.

Some of these cases involve claims by local governments that PFAS in the firefighting foam contaminated the water supply, while the rest are traditional product liability cases alleging that AFFF exposure caused cancer. The first bellwether test trial in the AFFF class action MDL was scheduled to start on June 5, 2023. However, the Plaintiff Leadership Committee and 3M filed a joint motion to delay the trial.

Atraxia Law can efficiently help you file your AFFF exposure claim

With over 35 years of experience in evaluating toxic exposure and personal injury claims, our team of experts is ready to offer you quality assistance. If you are or were a civilian or military firefighter and now struggle with a disease related to AFFF exposure, we encourage you to contact us. We will carefully and thoroughly asses your situation to determine whether you are entitled to financial compensation from the liable manufacturers. Eligible individuals will promptly be put in touch with a reputable, specialized attorney to have their AFFF firefighting foam claims filed as soon as possible.

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