PFAS Litigation Updates

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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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Suit Brought Against Chemical Companies Accused of Hiding Risks of PFAS

3M, DuPont de Nemours, The Chemours Co., and others were sued in South Carolina federal court by a man who alleges that he developed prostate cancer from his exposure to firefighting foam containing PFAS. The complaint alleges negligence, design defect, battery, inadequate warning, and other causes of action. The plaintiff claims that the companies performed animal testing which indicated that exposure to the chemicals caused adverse health effects. The plaintiff also claims the companies performed additional research and testing which found multiple possible health effects among workers exposed to PFAS. Despite this testing, plaintiff alleges, the companies told the U.S. EPA that there were no risks associated with being exposed to PFAS. Representatives for the companies maintain that the companies acted responsibly in connection with products containing PFAS.

March 7, 2022 | Sanders et al. v. 3M Company Case No. 2:22-cv-00723 (D.S.C.)

9th Circuit Keeps 3M PFAS Case in Federal Court

The Orange County Water District, along with several other cities, sued 3M and other companies in California state court in 2020, alleging their operations polluted the local surface water and groundwater with PFAS. 3M removed the state complaint to federal court in 2021, arguing that at least some PFAS releases were the result of product sales to the U.S. military, and so the company plans to assert the federal government contractor defense, making federal court the proper venue. The federal district court disagreed that the case was properly in federal court and sent the case back down to state court. The 9th Circuit reversed, holding that the case had properly been removed to federal court based on 3M’s arguments.

March 1, 2022 | Orange County Water District et al. v. 3M Co. et al. Case No. 21-55778 (9th Cir.)

Chemours’ Motion to Dismiss Investor Suit Denied

Partially granting DuPont’s motion to dismiss, a Delaware District Court is allowing a consolidated class action alleging that the DuPont spinoff, Chemours knowingly hid the extent of its environmental remediation liabilities from investors. In particular, the investors’ suit points to PFAS as the basis for their allegations, claiming that Chemours “dramatically mischaracterized” its financial condition and “vastly understated” its liabilities “from decades of environmental pollution” in five filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission between 2018 and 2019.

February 24, 2022 | In re The Chemours Company Securities Litigation Case No. 19-1911 (D. Del.)

Boston Firefighters Allege Injury from Exposure to Fire-Suppressing Foam and Protective Uniforms

Boston-area firefighters have filed a lawsuit against 3M, DuPont, and other manufacturers alleging that exposure to PFAS in fire-suppressing foam and protective uniforms worn to incidents was a “substantial factor” to the firefighters’ later development of cancer. Among other claims, plaintiffs contend 3M and DuPont specifically, have “long known about the serious and significant impacts to health caused by exposure to PFAS.” The firefighters served between seven and thirty-eight years at departments in the Boston area and are suing for alleged design defects, failure to warn, negligence, and violation of Massachusetts business law. The suit lists 25 defendants that manufacture or distribute PFAS, fire-suppression foam, and turnout gear.

February 15, 2022 | Marchetti et al. v. 3M et al., Case No. 1:22-cv-10251 (D. Mass)

Plaintiffs Contend Georgia Public Utility is Not Immune from Public Nuisance Claims

Dalton Utilities, a Georgia public utility involved in pending PFAS litigation in Georgia, appealed a ruling from the Northern District of Georgia partially denying the utility’s motion to dismiss. The Northern District held that Dalton Utilities is not entitled to sovereign immunity on Plaintiff Jarrod Johnson’s claim for nuisance abatement. Johnson urged the Eleventh Circuit through his briefing that the district court’s order is not yet appealable under the collateral order doctrine.

February 1, 2022 | Johnson v. The City of Dalton, Georgia d/b/a Dalton Utilities Case No. 21-13663 (11th Cir.)