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North Dakota Firefighter Foam Lawsuit: Get the Right Attorney

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Collen Clark Published by Collen Clark

Suppose you are a firefighter who has been affected by AFFF foam in North Dakota. In that case, you should be aware of the ongoing lawsuits linking AFFF firefighting foams containing toxic PFAS chemicals to cancer cases among firefighters.

The North Dakota firefighter foam lawsuit is part of a broader legal action against manufacturers for their failure to warn about the dangers associated with AFFF exposure. This article provides insights into the current legal battle, its implications for affected firefighters, and the potential for compensation.

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

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits

In North Dakota, firefighting foam lawsuits center around AFFF, a firefighting foam laced with toxic PFAS chemicals connected to a range of health conditions. The main plaintiffs in these cases are people who developed cancer after being exposed to AFFF foam, leading to a surge in foam lawsuit cases.

AFFF’s harmful reputation, primarily due to its PFAS content, is the focal point of these lawsuits. PFAS chemicals can build up in the body over time, leading to health problems.

The AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits have brought the dangers of PFAS chemicals to the forefront. These cases have highlighted the need for companies to be transparent about the potential risks associated with their products.

Key Points from Lawsuits

Some critical points have emerged from the AFFF lawsuits. Key among these is evidence that the industry was aware of the dangers of PFAS chemicals for a long time. Data from studies connecting long-term exposure to health problems have also been presented in these lawsuits.

Furthermore, over 480 lawsuits have been filed into the firefighting foam MDL. AFFF exposure has been notably tied to testicular, kidney, and prostate cancers. Pancreatic cancer, while not specifically mentioned in the context of AFFF lawsuits, is another potential concern for those exposed to AFFF.

The occurrence of these lawsuits underscores the seriousness of the situation. It’s a clear indication that the dangers associated with PFAS chemicals in firefighting foam cannot be brushed under the carpet.

The critical issues raised in these lawsuits underscore the potential dangers linked with AFFF. They underscore the need for more stringent regulations and greater transparency in the industry.

What Is AFFF?

According to the Division of Spill Prevention and Response, AFFF is an acronym for Aqueous Film-Forming Foam, a firefighting agent composed of water, foam concentrate, and air [1]. It is specifically designed to tackle Class B fires by creating a barrier that smothers the flames and prevents the fire from reigniting.

Although AFFF is proficient at extinguishing fires, it is laden with PFAS chemicals. These chemicals are harmful to both the environment and human health. Long-term exposure to these chemicals can lead to serious health issues, including various types of cancer.

Therefore, despite the critical role of AFFF in firefighting, we cannot overlook its harmful health impacts. It is clear that the dangers associated with AFFF need to be addressed urgently, and alternatives to this foam should be sought.

Who Are The Defendants In AFFF Lawsuits in North Dakota?

The defendants in AFFF lawsuits in North Dakota are major manufacturers accused of neglecting to warn consumers about the health risks associated with their products. These manufacturers are 3M, DuPont, Tyco Fire Products, Chemguard, and Buckeye Fire Production.

These companies are at the center of a storm of legal disputes. Over 480 AFFF foam lawsuits have been filed into the firefighting foam MDL, most notably tying AFFF to testicular, kidney, and prostate cancers. In February 2024, the AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit attracted over 3,300 plaintiffs. They are seeking legal action for their respective cases.

These companies face grave accusations. They are being accused of failing to warn customers about the potential dangers and risks of their products, such as the harmful PFAS chemicals in AFFF that could harm customers.

As a result, numerous AFFF firefighting foam cases are being filed against them, with some even involving the Environmental Protection Agency.

According to the National Cancer Institute, a considerable body of research substantiates the link between AFFF firefighting foam and cancer. Firefighters who come into contact with firefighting foam, especially foam containing PFAS chemicals, have a higher chance of developing cancers like [2]:

As stated by the National Institute of Health, firefighters exposed to AFFF have higher rates of lymphoma, testicular, and prostate cancer than the general population [3]. Testicular cancer appears at higher rates in firefighters compared to the general population.

The PFAS chemicals found in firefighting foam are thought to interfere with hormone functions and have been linked to various illnesses, including different types of cancer, like bladder and kidney cancer. This link between firefighting foam and cancer is a driving force behind the lawsuits currently being filed.

Does Firefighting Foam Contain PFAS?

Firefighting foam does contain PFAS. These chemicals are effective at putting out fires, so they are used in Class B firefighting foams. However, these “forever chemicals” persist in the environment and in our bodies, which can lead to serious health issues.

Elevated levels of PFAS have been observed in firefighters’ blood serum in recent studies. Possible sources of occupational exposure to PFAS include turnout gear, aqueous film-forming foam, and air and dust at both the fire scene and fire station – National Library of Medicine

PFAS can build up in the body over time, especially for firefighters who frequently use aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF). This buildup leads to higher levels of PFAS in the bloodstream.

When PFAS accumulates in the body, it can cause a range of health issues, such as liver damage, immune system disruption, and fertility issues. Long-term exposure is linked to serious conditions such as cancer, high cholesterol, and hormonal imbalances.

Common Injuries Linked To Firefighting Foam PFAS

A range of injuries and health issues have been linked to firefighting foam PFAS exposure. These include various types of cancer, hormone disruption, and toxicity in the liver and kidneys.

PFAS chemicals like PFOA and PFOS can disrupt hormone distribution in the body, causing hormone disruption.

In addition, exposure to PFAS from firefighting foam can cause the following health effects:

  • Oxidative stress in the kidneys
  • Deteriorated kidney health
  • Increased risk of kidney cancer
  • Potentially kidney disease

To sum up, the PFAS chemicals in firefighting foam substantially affect health, resulting in a multitude of injuries and illnesses. These risks must be recognized and addressed effectively.

Who Qualifies for the AFFF Lawsuit in North Dakota?

Individuals who have documented evidence of AFFF exposure and can demonstrate a causal link between the firefighting foam and their illness or injury may qualify for the AFFF lawsuit in North Dakota.

While there isn’t a specific timeframe for when the illness must have developed, people must file within the statute of limitations in North Dakota. Firefighters and other first responders are recognized as eligible for the AFFF lawsuits in North Dakota due to their higher risk of exposure to firefighting foam.

How Do AFFF Lawsuits Work?

AFFF lawsuits work as part of a multi-district litigation (MDL) process in North Dakota. This legal process in federal civil litigation is designed to simplify complex cases involving numerous claimants in different locations. MDL aims to consolidate the workload on federal district courts and streamline the litigation process by grouping similar cases.

The MDL process in North Dakota follows specific procedures outlined in a document available on the North Dakota District Court’s website. This ensures that pretrial proceedings are organized and unified.

In the MDL process, one judge handles all the pretrial proceedings, such as discovery. If a case in the MDL doesn’t settle or get dismissed, it goes back to the court where it was first filed for the trial.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits Settlement Amounts in North Dakota

Settlement amounts in AFFF lawsuits have shown considerable variation. There have been reports of settlements reaching billions of dollars, such as 3M offering $10 billion to settle claims by municipalities and a collective of companies, including Chemours, DuPont, and Corteva, setting up a $1.185 billion settlement fund.

The amount awarded in a settlement is determined by several factors, including:

  • The extent of the damage
  • The strength of the evidence
  • The number of people involved
  • Who’s responsible
  • How the product impacts the environment
  • What kind of illnesses are connected to it

While there has been talk about potential settlements for top-tier plaintiffs, North Dakota hasn’t reported any specific examples in the $300k to $600k range yet.

These figures illustrate the massive financial implications of these lawsuits. They also indicate the potential compensation that victims of firefighting foam exposure could receive.

Potential Compensation for Victims of Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits in North Dakota

Victims of firefighting foam exposure in North Dakota may be awarded compensation for their injuries and losses. Compensation for lost income in North Dakota AFFF lawsuits is calculated by claiming lost wages and loss of future income.

Victims of firefighting foam exposure may also be able to get compensation for pain and suffering by filing AFFF lawsuits.

In addition, North Dakota law provides compensation for permanent disability in firefighting foam cancer lawsuits. These potential avenues for compensation include:

These options highlight the legal rights of victims and the potential for significant financial recovery.

Filing a North Dakota Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuit

Filing a North Dakota firefighting foam cancer lawsuit requires victims to collect evidence of their exposure and illness while adhering to the state’s statute of limitations.

Filing a lawsuit is an important step in seeking justice and compensation for the harm caused by AFFF exposure. It is crucial to understand the process and adhere to all necessary legal requirements to ensure a successful claim.

Types of Evidence To Present

Medical records play a crucial role in AFFF lawsuits. They provide evidence of health issues linked to PFAS exposure and help determine the plaintiff’s health challenges.

Apart from medical records, other forms of evidence are also important. These include:

  • Scientific studies showing the connection between AFFF foam exposure and health problems
  • Records of exposure
  • Expert opinions
  • Statements from witnesses

Your work history can significantly affect AFFF lawsuits. It can provide proof of exposure to the firefighting foam during your time as a firefighter or in other jobs.

The evidence presented in a lawsuit can significantly influence its outcome. Therefore, gathering all necessary evidence and presenting it effectively is key to a successful claim.

North Dakota Statute of Limitation

In North Dakota, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is generally six years. However, there’s a provision called the discovery rule.

This rule extends the statute of limitations to the date the injury was discovered or should have been discovered, but only within six years unless the plaintiff was prevented from finding out about the injury because of the defendant’s actions.

Understanding the statute of limitations is crucial when filing a lawsuit. It is important to file within the stipulated timeframe to ensure that your claim is valid and can be pursued.

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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 North Dakota Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawyers

At Schmidt & Clark, LLP our doors are open for guidance when you need it most. Injuries from firefighting foam exposure can be devastating, and if this concerns you or someone close to you, we’re here to help. Our experienced attorneys specialize in such cases and will lead you through the legal journey with expertise.

Knowing your rights is essential, and determining your eligibility for a firefighting foam lawsuit is the first step. Our firm offers no-cost consultations, with the promise that you’ll only pay for our services if we win your case.

Reach out to Schmidt & Clark for an in-depth assessment of your firefighting foam case.

Reference:

  1. https://dec.alaska.gov/spar/csp/pfas/firefighting-foam/
  2. https://dceg.cancer.gov/research/what-we-study/pfas
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7244264/

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