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Minnesota Firefighter Foam Lawsuit: Get the Right Attorney

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

Minnesota’s firefighters and residents facing health challenges from PFAS in AFFF: the firefighting foam lawsuit could be your avenue for compensation. This article discusses the latest on the legal pursuit for justice and redress in the wake of increased cancer risks tied to foam exposure.

If you or a loved one has been affected by firefighting foam exposure, Schmidt & Clark, LLP, stands by to offer support. With a reputation for excellence in representing plaintiffs, our primary goal is to secure the justice and compensation you are rightfully entitled to.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits

In 2010, Minnesota filed a lawsuit against 3M Company, alleging that the company’s production of PFAS had led to contamination of drinking water and natural resources in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. The lawsuit drew attention to the potential health risks posed by PFAS, a group of man-made chemicals used in various products, including AFFF firefighting foam.

The legal battle culminated in 2018 when Minnesota reached an $850 million settlement with 3M, resolving the claims related to the company’s past PFAS production. This marked one of the largest environmental settlements in Minnesota’s history, setting a significant precedent for future firefighting foam lawsuits.

The settlement funds were used to address the water contamination problem and fund drinking water and natural resource projects. The case highlighted not only the environmental impact of AFFF but also its potential health risks, particularly the link between AFFF exposure and cancer.

Key Points from Lawsuits

Allegations that PFAS chemicals from AFFF had contaminated local water sources formed the basis of the lawsuit against 3M. The Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency conducted comprehensive studies across the state to assess the extent of PFAS environmental release.

In the settlement, 3M agreed to:

  • Pay the hefty sum without admitting any wrongdoing or accepting liability for the PFAS contamination
  • Demonstrate Minnesota’s determination to hold companies accountable for environmental damage
  • Safeguard public health from chemical exposure risks

What Is AFFF?

According to the Division of Spill Prevention and Response, AFFF is typically used to fight oil and gasoline fires because of its ability to effectively extinguish them. It is known as Aqueous Film Forming Foam. Its unique composition forms a film that helps prevent the reignition of the fire [1].

It’s extremely effective in fighting high-heat, flammable liquid fires, making it a staple in the firefighting industry as a firefighter foam. However, the foam contains potentially harmful PFAS chemicals, which have been linked to an increased risk of cancer and other health issues.

Who Are The Defendants In AFFF Lawsuits in Minnesota?

The defendants in AFFF lawsuits in Minnesota are primarily the firefighting foam manufacturers of the firefighting foam, which include major companies such as 3M Company and DuPont.

3M Company, headquartered in Minnesota, is frequently a central defendant due to its production of AFFF which contains PFAS. DuPont, another significant producer of firefighting foams that contain PFAS, also stands as a prominent defendant in these cases.

Alleged negligence in the design, testing, manufacturing, or marketing of AFFF products forms the basis of the legal cases against these companies. These lawsuits aim to hold them accountable for the injuries and financial losses suffered by those exposed to their products.

According to the National Cancer Institute, there is a reported correlation between AFFF exposure and a heightened risk of severe illnesses such as [2]:

The primary concern lies in the foam’s composition. AFFF contains potentially harmful PFAS chemicals, which have been linked to an increased risk of cancer.

PFAS chemicals from AFFF can enter the human body through contaminated drinking water or other forms of exposure, leading to environmental contamination of soil, surface water, and groundwater.

The long-term health risks associated with AFFF exposure also include effects on the immune system, an increased risk of autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, and more.

The manufacturers of AFFF, like 3M, have been accused of selling toxic firefighting foam products while being fully aware of their toxicity. This blatant disregard for the health risks posed to firefighters and residents living near areas where AFFF has been used or disposed of is a key point in the ongoing AFFF lawsuits.

Does Firefighting Foam Contain PFAS?

According to the ChemTrust, firefighting foam does contain PFAS chemicals, which are a type of toxic chemicals. These chemicals, also known as ‘forever chemicals’ due to their persistent nature, are known for their resistance to heat, water, and oil [3].

Occupational exposure of firefighters to carcinogenic chemicals may increase their risk of developing different types of cancer. – National Library of Medicine.

This makes them incredibly effective in firefighting foams as they can quickly suppress high-heat, flammable liquid fires. However, their persistence also means they do not break down in the environment or the human body, leading to potential health risks over time.

Common Injuries Linked To Firefighting Foam PFAS

A variety of health issues have been associated with exposure to AFFF and its PFAS chemicals. Among these are several types of cancer, including kidney cancer, testicular cancer, bladder cancer, and pancreatic cancer.

Those exposed to AFFF are also at an increased risk of developing leukemia, lymphoma, and neuroendocrine tumors.

Additionally, other long-term health risks associated with AFFF exposure include effects on the immune system, an increased risk of autoimmune disorders, and cardiovascular disease. Those living near areas where AFFF has been used or disposed of are particularly vulnerable to these risks.

Who Qualifies for the AFFF Lawsuit in Minnesota?

Minnesota residents with a history of AFFF use followed by a cancer diagnosis qualify for the AFFF lawsuit in Minnesota. This particularly pertains to firefighters and military personnel who have been regularly exposed to the foam during their line of work, leading to a firefighting foam lawsuit, as well as an afff firefighting foam lawsuit.

The lawsuits aim to provide compensation for the victim’s medical expenses, lost income, permanent disability, and pain and suffering.

How Do AFFF Lawsuits Work?

AFFF lawsuits work by following a similar pattern to numerous other mass tort cases, often involving class actions or multidistrict litigation (MDL). These legal frameworks allow plaintiffs to consolidate their efforts and enhance their collective negotiating power, which can significantly increase the likelihood of reaching a satisfactory resolution.

Joining an MDL allows a plaintiff to be part of a larger group of lawsuits against AFFF manufacturers. This can potentially put more pressure on these companies to settle the cases.

Unlike class actions, MDLs enable individual plaintiffs to receive settlements that reflect their own injuries and losses, rather than equal shares of a collective settlement.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits Settlement Amounts in Minnesota

The case of Minnesota vs 3M Company led to an $850 million settlement, marking one of Minnesota’s largest environmental settlements. This serves as a significant benchmark for potential compensation in future AFFF-related cancer lawsuits.

The settlement funds were overseen by the 3M Settlement Working Group, comprising local community representatives and officials from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Department of Natural Resources.

Most of the settlement, approximately $720 million after legal expenses, was allocated to drinking water and natural resource projects, highlighting the emphasis on addressing the environmental impact of AFFF.

Potential Compensation for Victims of Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits in Minnesota

In Minnesota, victims of AFFF exposure may be eligible for compensation that covers a range of costs and losses. This can include medical expenses, such as hospital bills, medication costs, and costs for ongoing treatment and therapy.

It can also cover lost income due to time off work for treatment and recovery, or due to a reduction in earning capacity resulting from the illness.

If the victim has been left with a permanent disability due to the illness, compensation could also be awarded for this. This can include costs for physical therapy, modifications to the home or vehicle, and other necessary accommodations.

Lastly, victims could receive compensation for pain and suffering. This includes physical pain and suffering, as well as emotional distress caused by the illness and its impact on the victim’s life.

The exact amount of compensation will depend on the specifics of each case, including the severity of the illness, the impact on the victim’s life, and the degree of negligence on the part of the AFFF manufacturer.

Filing a Minnesota Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuit

There are several key steps involved when you decide to file an AFFF lawsuit in Minnesota. First, the plaintiff must prove negligence on the part of the AFFF manufacturer. This can involve showing that the manufacturer failed in their duty of care to provide safe products or failed to warn users about the potential risks associated with their product.

Next, the plaintiff must show that they suffered harm as a result of the manufacturer’s negligence. This usually involves presenting evidence of a cancer diagnosis and showing that this diagnosis is linked to AFFF exposure and occupational exposure.

Finally, the plaintiff must show that they suffered damages as a result of the manufacturer’s negligence. This can include medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.

It is highly recommended to seek legal assistance for these processes, as experienced attorneys can help gather evidence, assess damages, and represent the plaintiff in court.

Types of Evidence To Present

Evidence in AFFF lawsuits can include:

  • Medical records, which prove the diagnosis and the extent of the illness
  • Employment history, which can prove exposure to AFFF in the workplace
  • Documentation of exposure to AFFF, such as incident reports or testimonies from co-workers
  • Injuries or illnesses that have occurred as a result of the exposure
  • Financial losses, such as medical expenses or lost income

It’s important to gather and document all relevant evidence to support your AFFF lawsuit.

Minnesota Statute of Limitation

In Minnesota, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is generally six years from the date of injury or discovery of the injury. This means that potential plaintiffs have six years from the date they were diagnosed with cancer (or from the date they discovered their cancer was linked to AFFF exposure) to file a lawsuit.

Acting swiftly to file your claim within this time limit is fundamental to maintaining your right to compensation.

Related Articles:

See all related toxic tort lawsuits our attorneys covered so far.

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Have you or a loved one been injured or exposed to a toxic chemical at work or in the home that has caused a severe life-threatening side effect, illness, disease, or death?

Get Your Free Consultation From Minnesota Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawyers

At Schmidt & Clark, LLP we provide expert guidance when you need it most. If you or someone close to you has been harmed due to firefighting foam exposure, we encourage you to get in touch with us. Our experienced team is adept at handling these specific cases and will lead you through every stage of the legal process.

Knowing your legal options and whether you qualify for a Minnesota firefighter foam lawsuit is essential. We offer free initial consultations, and our services are provided on a contingency fee basis—you won’t pay any fees unless we win your case.

For a comprehensive case evaluation concerning firefighting foam exposure, contact Schmidt & Clark. Choose us as your trusted advocate to help you through this difficult time.

Reference:

  1. https://dec.alaska.gov/spar/csp/pfas/firefighting-foam
  2. https://dceg.cancer.gov/research/what-we-study/pfas
  3. https://chemtrust.org/pfas

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