3M, DuPont Hit with PFAS Lawsuit Regarding Contaminated Water

DuPont, 3M, Chemours, and Corteva were hit with another lawsuit over so-called forever chemicals in groundwater.

DuPont de Nemours Inc., 3M Co., the Chemours Co., and Corteva Inc. knew or should have known that the “harmful compounds” they manufactured would reach groundwater, pollute drinking water supplies and threaten public health, the water districts allege in their claim. The plaintiffs say the companies failed to protect the region’s water supplies, and now the districts – and millions of Orange County residents – are dealing with “widespread contamination”.

For decades the chemical companies manufactured products containing perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctancesulfonic acid (PFOS), both of which are known as “forever chemicals” because they do not break down in the environment, according to the water districts. The man-made substances are part of a group of more than 5,000 substances known as PFAS and have been shown to lead to reproductive and developmental, liver and kidney, and immunological problems, and possibly cancer.

The water districts are alleging public and private nuisance, negligence, design defects and failure to warn, among other allegations. They are seeking specific damages as well as injunctive relief, attorney fees and court costs.

Daniel Turner, a DuPont spokesperson, said in a statement that the company is disappointed by the water districts’ claims.

“DuPont de Nemours has never made or sold PFOA, PFOS or other perfluorinated compounds in California, or elsewhere,” he said. “These complaints are the latest example of DuPont being improperly named in litigation, and we look forward to vigorously defending our position.”

3M has stated that it “acted responsibly in connection PFAS and will vigorously defend itself against the allegations in this lawsuit.”

Counsel for the water districts declined to comment.

 

Judge Denies Companies From Ditching PFAS Lawsuit

An Ohio judge has just shut down 2 companies’ requests to stay out of a class action lawsuit regarding PFAS exposure. The lawsuit alleges that certain makers of products containing PFAS, a toxic group of chemicals, have knowingly sold their harmful products to consumers which has resulted in thousands of injuries.

The companies, Anchroma Management and Daikin Industries Ltd., claimed that they did not receive sufficient information about how they were responsible for PFAS exposure in Ohio. They also say that they have no business connection to Ohio whatsoever.

Last September, other chemical manufacturers sought motions to dismiss but were denied. The motions asserted that there is no personal jurisdiction over the alleged PFAS makers which is confirmed by affidavits signed by the defendants. Anchroma and Daikin have asked the courts to reconsider these motions.

The recent Malone v. Stanley Black & Decker Inc. case supported the court’s order against the motions. Lead plaintiff Kevin Hardwick, however, must still fight the motions with sufficient evidence.

Hardwick’s blood reportedly contains PFAS and PFOA which can lead to serious disease. He acquired the toxins from firefighting foams and other equipment throughout his 40 years as a firefighter.

 

DuPont, 3M Among 17 Chemical Companies Sued For Concealing Pollution

Dana Nessen, Michigan’s Attorney General, filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against a list of major chemical manufacturers, including DuPont and 3M. The suit alleges that these companies have knowingly hidden the toxic and long-lasting effects of a category of chemicals known as “PFAS” from the public. PFAS are believed to cause illness in both humans and animals such as infertility, liver damage, and various forms of cancer. These “forever chemicals” are nearly impossible to destroy and have recently been found in drinking water throughout Michigan.

The complaint details the companies’ negligence and the extensive damage that PFAS chemicals have done to state property and natural resources. Nessen believes the damage can be reversed in some cases but at a steep cost, and the price ought to be paid by the companies who have caused the problem.

DuPont was quick to respond, claiming the amount of PFAS they use is insignificant on a global scale and that they’ve never sold fire retardants (one of the main products that use PFAS). Denise Rutherford, a spokesperson for 3M, has said that their chemicals are not proven to have adverse effects on humans. But according to the lawsuit, 3M has scientific evidence that contradicts Rutherford’s claim.

This is the first step taken by the state of Michigan in the PFAS controversy, but DuPont and 3M have been under legal fire for years. DuPont has faced thousands of personal injury and wrongful death suits in just the last decade and has been known to purchase chemical supplies from 3M, namely PFAS and a similar chemical, PFAO.

3M sold the potentially toxic products from the 1950s until 2002. In 2018 the company was forced to pay an $850 million settlement for allegedly releasing another toxic chemical, PCFs, into Minnesota waterways. Michigan now joins Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, and New Jersey in the legal battle against PFAS manufacturers.

Of the other 15 companies being sued, Chemours Co. and AGC Chemicals Americas Inc. have denied the allegations. The rest of the defendants are yet to provide a comment.

DiCello Levitt Gutzler LLC and Keating Muething & Klekamp represent Michigan as outside counsel. Attorneys from the Michigan Attorney General’s Office and Fields PLLC will also represent Michigan.

 

THANK YOU FOR YOUR MESSAGE

One of our associates will follow up with you shortly