PFAS Litigation Updates



The world of PFAS litigation is quickly evolving. As regulatory scrutiny of these compounds increases, so, too, will the body of associated case law. From class actions to multidistrict litigation, this section will regularly highlight developments in PFAS-related litigation.

Content in this section does not reflect the opinion of Alston & Bird or its attorneys.

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Nevada Plaintiffs’ Suit One of Newest Additions to South Carolina AAAF MDL

A Nevada couple, whose suit is one of the most recent additions to the South Carolina AAAF MDL, sued PFAS manufacturers alleging the husband’s long-term exposure to PFAS as a firefighter caused his later prostate cancer diagnosis. In addition to compensatory damages, Plaintiffs seek punitive damages, alleging “Defendants had good reason to know or expect that their fluorochemical products were toxic chemicals capable of causing harm to human health.”

June 5, 2020 In re Aqueous Film-Forming Foams Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2873 (D.S.C.)

New Mexico Loses its Bid to Litigate at Home

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation declined to vacate the transfer of New Mexico’s lawsuit over PFAS contamination at two Air Forces bases. The State argued the case did not belong in the MDL because it involved claims of environmental remediation against the United States, as opposed to products liability claims against the fire-fighting foam manufacturers. The JPMDL disagreed, holding transfer under Section 1407 does not require a complete identity of factual and legal issues when the action arises from the “common factual core.”

June 2, 2020 In re Aqueous Film-Forming Foams Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2873 (D.S.C.)

Ohio Couple Sues DuPont and Chemours For Injury Allegedly Linked to PFOA Exposure

Plaintiffs, a couple residing in Washington County, Ohio, sued DuPont and Chemours following the husband’s kidney cancer diagnosis. The lawsuit references an earlier class action, settled in 2006, related to groundwater and surface water PFOA contamination resulting from operations at a West Virginia manufacturing facility. As part of the settlement, DuPont allegedly agreed that, if an independent science panel found a “probable link” between a certain diagnosis and PFOA exposure, class members with such diagnoses would have independent causes of action. The science panel found a ”probable link” between PFOA exposure and kidney cancer, and Plaintiffs sued.

June 1, 2020 Crawford v. E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co., 2:20-cv-02824 (S.D. Ohio)

NY Firefighters File Sprawling Putative Class Action over Foam

Three firefighters from New York State have filed a putative class action against PFAS and AFFF manufacturers under CAFA. The firefighters seek to maintain two classes—personal injury and medical monitoring—on behalf of all individuals currently or formerly employed as firefighters. The firefighters also argue “market share liability” attaches to all defendants, such that liability of each should be assigned according to its percentage of the market.

May 27, 2020 Gentile v. 3M Co., No. 1:20-cv-2344 (E.D.N.Y.)

Orange County Considering Blockbuster Suit over PFAS Contamination

Nine Orange County water agencies and cities have reportedly retained seven law firms to study whether to pursue litigation to recoup the $1+ billion it could take to remove PFAS from local drinking water wells contaminated and to pay for importing water in the interim. The PFAS (specifically PFOA and PFOS) are reportedly due to treated wastewater from the Inland Empire being released into the Santa Ana River and then absorbed into the county’s primary groundwater basin.

May 22, 2020 | Orange County Register