Firefighting Foam AFF Lawsuit

Firefighters, military personnel, and airports used aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) to suppress fires for decades.

Unfortunately, the foam contains toxic PFAS chemicals, which have been linked to a significantly increased risk of developing several severe health conditions, including kidney cancer, testicular cancer, bladder cancer, prostate cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, and more.

PFAS chemicals are known as "forever chemicals" due to their persistence in the environment and the human body. They do not break down easily and can accumulate over time, leading to long-term health consequences for those exposed.

AFFF has been widespread, with the U.S. military being one of the most significant users. The Navy, in particular, has used AFFF extensively on ships and military bases due to its effectiveness in extinguishing fuel fires. If you or a loved one have been affected, consult a Firefighting Foam AFFF Lawsuit Attorney to understand your legal options.

However, the environmental and health risks associated with PFAS have led to growing concerns and legal action against the manufacturers of AFFF.

Who is at Risk?

Several groups face a heightened risk of developing health issues related to AFFF exposure. Civil and military firefighters are among the most vulnerable due to their frequent use of AFFF in training exercises and actual fire suppression. They can be exposed to PFAS through inhalation, skin contact, and ingesting contaminated water or foam residue.

Military personnel, especially in the Navy, are also at elevated risk. The use of AFFF on ships and at military installations has led to significant exposure for service members. In addition, communities near military bases where AFFF was used may face exposure to contaminated groundwater and drinking water supplies.

Airport workers involved in fire suppression and individuals living near airports where AFFF was used are also at risk. The PFAS chemicals in AFFF can seep into the ground and contaminate nearby water sources, leading to widespread exposure in affected communities.

Furthermore, the PFAS chemicals in AFFF can build up in the body over time, meaning that even low-level exposure can lead to significant health risks if it occurs over an extended period. This bioaccumulation makes it difficult for the body to eliminate PFAS, and the health effects may not become apparent until years after the initial exposure.

Lawsuits Against AFFF Manufacturers

As the evidence of health risks associated with AFFF exposure has grown, numerous lawsuits have been filed against foam manufacturers. Companies such as 3M, Tyco, DuPont, and others have been accused of knowing about the potential health dangers of PFAS chemicals but failing to warn users and the public adequately.

Judge Richard Gergel in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina has consolidated over 3,000 federal cases related to AFFF exposure into multi-district litigation (MDL). The MDL allows for coordinated pretrial proceedings and helps to streamline the legal process for the numerous plaintiffs involved.

The lawsuits allege that the manufacturers of AFFF knew or should have known about the risks associated with PFAS chemicals but continued to produce and sell the foam without proper warnings or safety precautions. Plaintiffs argue that this negligence has led to widespread exposure and serious health consequences for those affected.

Proving an AFFF Lawsuit

To succeed in an AFFF lawsuit, plaintiffs must demonstrate several vital elements.

First, they must provide evidence of exposure to AFFF through direct contact or environmental contamination. This can often be established through employment records, military service records, or proof of residence in affected areas.

Second, plaintiffs must have a diagnosed cancer or other health condition that has been linked to PFAS exposure. Medical records and expert testimony are crucial in establishing this link. Plaintiffs must show that their health conditions are consistent with the known effects of PFAS exposure and that other potential causes have been ruled out.

Third, plaintiffs must show that they suffered damages from their AFFF exposure and related health issues. These damages may include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other economic and non-economic losses. Plaintiffs will need to provide documentation of their damages, such as medical bills, income statements, and expert opinions on the impact of their health conditions on their quality of life.

The strength of each plaintiff's case will depend on the specific facts and evidence presented. However, the growing body of scientific evidence linking PFAS exposure to serious health risks and the manufacturers' alleged knowledge of these risks provides a strong foundation for AFFF lawsuits.

The average individual settlement amount in AFFF lawsuits is expected to exceed $150,000, depending on the severity of the plaintiff's health conditions and the strength of their case. However, some plaintiffs may receive significantly more or less depending on their circumstances.

How Can a Firefighting Foam Attorney Help?

AFFF litigation requires the guidance and skills of experienced attorneys. These attorneys play a critical role in the following:

  • Gathering evidence
  • Assessing the strength of each case
  • Fighting for the rights of plaintiffs against well-funded corporate defendants.

Experienced AFFF attorneys can help plaintiffs understand their legal options, build strong cases, and work towards obtaining the compensation they deserve. They can also guide on the potential risks and benefits of joining the MDL or pursuing an individual lawsuit.

Furthermore, many AFFF attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning clients only pay legal fees if a successful verdict or settlement is reached. This arrangement allows plaintiffs to pursue their claims without upfront costs and ensures that attorneys are incentivized to achieve the best possible outcomes for their clients.

When selecting an attorney for an AFFF lawsuit, plaintiffs should look for firms with a track record of success in complex product liability and mass tort litigation. They should also consider the firm's resources, skills, and the individual attention and communication they can expect throughout the legal process.

Recent Developments and Future Outlook

The landscape of AFFF litigation continues to evolve as new developments emerge. In recent months, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued new warnings and exposure limits for PFAS chemicals in drinking water, highlighting the growing concern over the health risks posed by these substances.

The Department of Defense has also committed to phasing out the use of AFFF, with the Air Force aiming to be the first military branch to become PFAS-free. This shift from AFFF use recognizes the severe health and environmental risks associated with PFAS chemicals.

As public awareness of AFFF-related health risks grows, more individuals are coming forward to file lawsuits seeking compensation for their injuries. The number of AFFF lawsuits is expected to rise as the full scope of PFAS contamination becomes more apparent.

In addition to the personal injury cases, ongoing litigation is related to the environmental contamination caused by AFFF use. States, municipalities, and water providers are seeking to hold the manufacturers accountable for the costs of cleaning up PFAS contamination and ensuring safe drinking water for affected communities.

The future of AFFF litigation will depend on the outcomes of the bellwether trials, the defendant's willingness to settle, and the strength of the scientific evidence linking PFAS exposure to health risks.

As more studies are conducted and more individuals come forward with AFFF-related health issues, the pressure on manufacturers to take responsibility for the harm caused by their products will likely continue to grow.

Defendants' Strategies and Potential Obstacles

As the number of AFFF lawsuits grows, the defendant manufacturers are aggressively fighting to defend their interests. They have raised a variety of legal and factual defenses to avoid liability for the health risks associated with their products.

Other potential defenses that the manufacturers may raise include arguing that the plaintiffs' health conditions were caused by factors other than AFFF exposure or that the plaintiffs assumed the risk of exposure by working in jobs that required the use of AFFF.

There are also concerns that some manufacturers, particularly 3M, may seek to limit their liability through bankruptcy. 3M has already agreed to pay billions of dollars in settlements to water districts and municipalities, and the company may argue that it cannot afford to pay the potential damages in the personal injury cases.

However, plaintiffs' attorneys have argued that 3M and other manufacturers have sufficient assets to compensate those harmed by their products and that any attempt to avoid bankruptcy would misuse the legal system.

As the AFFF litigation progresses, the defendants' strategies and potential obstacles will continue to shape the legal landscape. Plaintiffs and their attorneys must be prepared to counter these defenses and fight for the compensation they deserve.

The Path Forward for AFFF Litigation

As the AFFF MDL progresses, the focus will be on the selection and preparation of bellwether cases for trial. These initial trials will provide insight into how juries respond to AFFF-related claims and help shape the future course of the litigation.

The outcomes of the bellwether trials will likely significantly impact any potential global settlement for personal injury plaintiffs. If the trials result in significant verdicts for the plaintiffs, it may increase the pressure on the defendants to settle the remaining cases. On the other hand, if the defendants prevail in the early trials, it may encourage them to continue fighting the litigation.

Regardless of the outcome of the initial trials, the AFFF litigation will likely continue for several years. The number of plaintiffs is expected to grow as more individuals become aware of the potential link between their health conditions and AFFF exposure.

For those who suspect that their cancer or other health condition may be linked to AFFF exposure, it is crucial to consult with an experienced attorney to understand their legal rights and options. The statute of limitations for filing an AFFF lawsuit varies by state, so it is essential to act promptly to preserve the right to seek compensation.

As the full extent of PFAS contamination continues to be uncovered, AFFF litigation is expected to remain a significant area of mass tort law in the years ahead as those affected seek justice and accountability from the manufacturers responsible for their injuries.

Affected by AFFF Exposure? Your Voice Matters in the Fight for Justice

If you or a loved one has been affected by AFFF exposure, it is crucial to understand that you have the right to seek justice and compensation for the harm you have suffered. By speaking up and sharing your story, you can play a vital role in holding the manufacturers accountable for their actions and preventing future harm to others.

Experienced AFFF attorneys are ready to stand by your side and provide your guidance and support. With their experience and the growing body of scientific evidence linking PFAS chemicals to serious health risks, you can build a strong case and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Joining the Movement for Change

Matt Dolman, Firefighting Foam AFF Lawsuit Attorney
Matt Dolman, Firefighting Foam AFF Lawsuit Attorney

But the impact of your voice goes beyond your case. By joining the thousands of other plaintiffs in the AFFF litigation, you become part of a powerful movement seeking lasting change. Your participation helps to raise awareness about the dangers of PFAS chemicals and the importance of corporate responsibility in protecting public health and the environment.

The road ahead may be challenging, but the cause is just, and the stakes could not be higher. With each voice that joins the fight, we grow stronger and more determined to see justice served. Now is the time to speak up, stand up, and be heard.