AFFF Settlement Progress – What’s Happening in the Courts

Aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), commonly called firefighting foam, is used in the suppression of fuel-based fires. The level of poly-fluoroalkyl chemicals (PFAS) – or forever chemicals – in AFFF is high, and exposure to these chemicals is closely associated with certain types of cancer. Emerging scientific research shows that PFAS are extremely toxic to humans, and that ongoing exposure to the PFAS in firefighting foam can be directly linked to several kinds of cancer. If your own health or the health of someone you love has been affected by working as a firefighter, do not wait to reach out to an AFFF cancer lawsuit attorney today for legal guidance.

AFFF Legal Updates

There have been many recent developments in the AFFF multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the courts, and settlements and trials are expected soon. For this reason, now is the time to discuss your own concerns with a trusted AFFF cancer lawsuit attorney. 

January 7, 2023

On January 7, 2023, three defendants – BASF, Chemguard, and Tyco – filed summary judgment motions seeking to remove themselves from the bellwether AFFF water contamination trial. They claim insufficient evidence to connect their products to the water contamination in question. On January 24, however, expert testimony on behalf of the plaintiffs confirmed the connection. These water contamination cases are ancillary to the firefighter foam cases, but the evidence presented will likely intertwine with the AFFF cases – and the result of these water contamination cases will likely have a profound effect on the outcome of the firefighter foam cases.   

January 12, 2023

On January 12, 2023, a study published in Occupational Medicine shared that, compared to the general population, firefighters are 60 percent more likely to die as a result of cancer. The researchers point out that it isn’t much of a leap to identify AFFF’s carcinogenic chemicals as primary contributing factors. 

January 18, 2023

By the time January 18 rolled around, AFFF firefighting foam class action MDL cases had been increasing by about 100 new cases per month, bringing the total case count to 3,387. Some theorize that the case count slowed over the holiday – with fewer than 50 new cases in December.

February 17, 2023

Since the middle of January, more than 315 firefighting foam cases have been added to the MDL, upping the total to more than 3,700 cases and increasing the monthly average of new cases considerably to 175.

March 16, 2023

Over the last month, another 350-plus cases were added to the firefighting foam class action MDL, pushing the total beyond 4,000 pending cases. The average growth in new cases per month continues to rise. This may be indicative of a general view that a settlement may be close. 

March 19, 2023

Around this time, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) filed a case accusing the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) of requiring the use of PFAS in the protective gear used by firefighters in spite of the health risks associated. 

April 20,  2023

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launches the National Firefighter Registry for Cancer and urges all firefighters to enroll. The goal is to track and analyze firefighters’ cancer rates. At this point, the factual basis of AFFF lawsuits has evolved from a hypothetical connection to a connection that is established in fact.

May 1, 2023

The matter moves ever closer to trial. The judge in the water contamination cases orders the parties to submit the portions of the depositions they’ll be reading at trial to the court and to provide a list of evidence they plan on using at trial by May 8. 

May 2, 2023

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published new research regarding the presence of PFAS in firefighter gear and the associated cancer risk – research the defendants likely should have done much earlier in the name of safety.   

May 8, 2023

MDL Judge Richard Gergel denied the defense’s motion for summary judgment, which means that the majority of claims will likely be decided by juries. The first trial is based on a Florida beach town’s claim that their groundwater was contaminated by the PFAS in firefighting foam made by companies like 3M and DuPont. In this case, the jury will be called upon to make complex scientific determinations, and the outcome of the case will very likely play a critical role in ongoing AFFF litigation.

June 5, 2023

Judge Gergel grants a joint motion to delay the beginning of the bellwether trial, requested by 3M and the AFFF MDL Plaintiff Leadership Committee, based on news that the parties are engaged in settlement negotiations and making progress towards a potential resolution of the drinking water contamination cases. 

Recent Happenings

Multiple leading defendants, including 3M have reached preliminary settlements in relation to drinking water claims. These companies have agreed to create settlement funds to address the contamination of municipal drinking water supplies. Once the water contamination cases are resolved, the path toward resolving individual firefighter and military service member cases will open up considerably. 

Additional events worth noting include:

  • The EPA’s proposed limits related to PFAS in drinking water will be allowed as evidence. 
  • A recent report from the Environmental Working Group estimates that it will cost the federal government more than $30 billion to adequately clean affected military bases of PFAS contamination.

Each month firefighter foam cases move closer to resolution, with reason to believe some settlements will be forthcoming in 2023.

Reach Out Today for the Skilled Legal Guidance of an Experienced AFFF Cancer Lawsuit Attorney

If you believe you or someone you love was harmed by AFFF while working as a firefighter, it’s time to consult with the experienced team of injury attorneys at Keefe Law Firm about an AFFF cancer lawsuit. As related cases continue to evolve, now is the time when your own potential case should come into focus. Our practiced legal team recognizes the gravity of your situation, and is well-positioned to help you explore your best legal options given the unique circumstances of your case. Your future is far too important to leave to chance, so please don’t wait to contact or call us at 855-945-3689 for more information about what we can do to help you today.