Personal Injury and PFAS: Liability of Manufacturers and Downstream Industrial Users to Individuals and Communities

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A


Conducted on Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This CLE course will explore the controversial, urgent, and complicated issues arising in lawsuits seeking to recover damages or other relief for exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The program will review the injuries, costs, and claims being asserted by individuals, secondary users, landowners, and others allegedly arising from PFAS use, storage, and disposal as well as the broad range of plaintiffs bringing suit arising from this "forever chemical."

Description

PFAS are human-made chemicals used in industrial environments, including, most significantly, in aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) at military facilities, airports and industries with Class-B fire suppression systems. PFAS has also been used in many common household items, such as cookware, carpeting, stain-resistant products, and automotive products. The chemical structure that makes them useful for these purposes also prevents them from breaking down in the environment. PFAS is alleged to cause a wide range of illnesses and conditions, including many forms of cancer.

While certain forms of PFAS are no longer used, concerns over their continued presence mean that communities and consumers are demanding clean-up and compensation for health issues said to arise from PFAS. Litigation has been driven by groundwater contaminated with PFAS from AFFF use in emergency/fire events and AFFF testing and training. Additionally, groundwater contaminated with PFAS from products such as carpets treated with PFAS dumped in landfills, is also a concern.

There is a growing trend in toxic tort litigation involving emerging contaminants resulting in ground-breaking verdicts. Counsel presented with a PFAS case must know where to learn which issues have been litigated in other cases and what evidence has been discovered and revealed. They must also understand the changing regulatory landscape both at the federal and state levels.

Listen as our authoritative panel analyzes the notable litigation--decided and ongoing--and explains what theories of liability are gaining the most traction and what issues counsel must be prepared to address.

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Outline

  1. Introduction
  2. Overview of PFAS
  3. Overview of Federal and State Regulation
    1. CERCLA Hazardous Substance Listing
    2. Development of Federal and State Groundwater Standards
    3. Toxicity Issues
  4. Review of Leading PFAS Litigation
    1. Actions by States
    2. Personal Injury Claims
    3. Source Identification, Theories of Liability, Causation and Damages
  5. Lessons From PFAS Exposure Cases and Best Practices
  6. Q&A

Benefits

The panel will review these and other issues:

  • What is the source of information about PFAS and its impact on health?
  • What is the legacy of Leach v. E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., No. 01-C-698 (Wood County W. Va. Cir. Ct.)?
  • What is the current state of regulation at the state and federal levels?
  • What are the challenges in proving causation?
  • What causes of action are being alleged?
  • What is the state of current and ongoing litigation over PFAS?

Faculty

Lamond, Emily
Emily M. Lamond

Member
Cole Schotz

Ms. Lamond is a member in the firm’s Environmental Department. She counsels on the practical implications of...  |  Read More

Witte, Edward
Edward B. (Ned) Witte

Shareholder
Godfrey & Kahn

Mr. Witte represents clients in the service and manufacturing industries as well as government bodies in a wide...  |  Read More

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Strafford will process CLE credit for one person on each recording. All formats include course handouts.

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