Newsflash – PFAS Litigation

June 30, 2023

Newsflash – PFAS Litigation

PFAS Report from by Attorney Jeff Keiser.

We have big news from MDL No. 2873, where the PFAS Products Liability Litigation has been centralized for discovery purposes.

$10+ Billion Settlement Announced

This week, the plaintiff’s leadership announced a settlement in the case, and the amount is staggering. 3M will now pay a minimum of $10.5 billion, with add-ons of approximately $2 billion, bringing the potential settlement total to $12.5 billion – the largest water contamination settlement in US history.

This is fantastic news for the plaintiffs (and plaintiff attorneys) in the case, and a great resolution for the litigation. Per the terms of the settlement agreement, these amounts will be paid out over 13 years, meaning this will be a truly comprehensive solution to the problems created by PFAS.

There are currently about 4,700 cases in the MDL, and they’ll all be in line for a piece of the settlement.

Similar Results

The 3M settlement comes on the heels of a similar settlement earlier this month on behalf of DuPont and two of its spinoff companies for $1.185 billion related to damages to municipal water systems.

The 3M settlement also indicates the importance of the bellwether trial process to the global settlement process. As has been reported here and elsewhere for months, the first bellwether trial was scheduled for June 5, but was postponed as settlement negotiations continued. This settlement is a direct result of the Judge’s delay.

Some Feel It’s Not Enough

These amounts will go a long way towards making plaintiffs whole but will not be a windfall. Just last month, the US Government issued a report indicating costs of $30 billion just to clean up the PFAS contamination on military bases alone.

Cities and states may not feel completely compensated either. “Looking at the scope of the problem across the nation, $10 billion isn’t really going to be sufficient enough to cover what our public water systems are facing,” said Jennifer Pederson, executive director of the Massachusetts Water Works Association. “I think we’re looking at billions in Massachusetts alone.”

Not an admission

3M noted that the agreement “is not an admission of liability.” If it is not approved by the court, “3M is prepared to continue to defend itself in the litigation.”

The company said it will also continue to address other PFAS litigation “by defending itself in court or through negotiated resolutions.”

Expecting Court Approval

Plaintiff lawyers expect the settlement to be approved by the court, but the process may take longer than anyone would like.

Hopefully, by the end of the year, we’ll know more about the mechanics of the settlement, but for now, we have to celebrate the massive amounts agreed to in this agreement.

Stay tuned for more news on this important settlement as we hear it.

Craig H. Alinder, Vice President

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