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Rhode Island Firefighter Foam Lawsuit: Get the Right Attorney

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

The Rhode Island firefighter foam lawsuit is a critical issue for firefighters and residents exposed to AFFF, many of whom now face cancer diagnoses. This article sheds light on the legal battle for accountability and potential compensation without delivering an undue forecast of its outcomes.

If you or a loved one has been affected by firefighting foam exposure, Schmidt & Clark LLP stands ready to support you. As a firm with a distinguished record of representing plaintiffs, our paramount concern is to ensure you receive the justice and rightful compensation you are entitled to.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits

AFFF has long been the firefighter’s friend, offering effective control over liquid fuel fires. However, this ally has a dark side. Exposure to AFFF has been linked to severe health problems and an increased chance of contracting cancer. This startling revelation has sparked a wave of AFFF lawsuits against companies that designed, manufactured, and sold the product.

Rhode Island reflects this nationwide trend. Individuals who have used AFFF and subsequently developed cancer might be eligible to pursue legal action for compensation relating to the harm suffered.

These lawsuits have broad implications, impacting manufacturers and the courageous individuals who depended on AFFF to save lives and safeguard property. As we peel back the layers of these lawsuits, we start to understand the gravity of the situation and the potential consequences for those involved.

Key Points from Lawsuits

The surge in AFFF lawsuits in Rhode Island is largely attributed to the residents, including firefighters, who have been increasingly filing claims against manufacturers due to their exposure to carcinogenic PFAS, a group of chemicals found in AFFF.

These lawsuits aim to secure justice for the victims and hold manufacturers responsible for their actions. The plaintiffs argue that the companies knowingly exposed them to health risks by failing to provide adequate warnings about the dangers associated with AFFF.

These lawsuits have been consolidated into an MDL in the United States District Court, allowing for:

  • Streamlined legal proceedings
  • Consistency in decisions and settlement amounts
  • More efficiently handle the numerous claims against AFFF manufacturers.

What Is AFFF?

According to the Division of Spill Prevention and Response, AFFF is also known as aqueous film-forming foam and it is frequently utilized to extinguish Class B fires, which encompass flammable liquids. This AFFF fire fighting foam, or AFFF foam, is a crucial tool in firefighting [1].

The film-forming foam AFFF creates a film that cuts off the fire’s oxygen supply, effectively extinguishing the flames with the help of firefighter foam. However, AFFF contains toxic substances like PFOA and PFOS, which are a type of PFAS known for their strong 8-carbon atom chains.

PFAS are a broad class of synthetic organic substances that, due to their specific chemical structure, are extremely resistant to environmental and metabolic degradation. This resistance has earned them the name “forever chemicals,” and it is this trait that poses significant health risks to those exposed to them.

Who Are The Defendants In AFFF Lawsuits in Rhode Island?

The defendants in AFFF lawsuits in Rhode Island are primarily the manufacturers of firefighting foam. Companies such as 3M and related entities are accused of having knowledge or being in a position where they should have known about the cancer risks associated with PFAS. Yet, they allegedly failed to provide sufficient warnings to those using the product.

Lawyers representing the victims argue that these manufacturers are responsible for distributing dangerous AFFF products without adequate warnings about their environmental and health risks.

One company that often finds itself in the crosshairs is 3M, which is frequently targeted for not warning about the risks and the need for protective gear. These companies reportedly knew about the toxicity of PFAS chemicals but continued selling them.

The alleged failure of these companies to warn users about the health risks linked to AFFF has led to an increase in firefighting foam lawsuit cases. These lawsuits aim to hold the manufacturers accountable and seek compensation for the victims who have been adversely affected by exposure to the toxic foam.

As claimed by the National Cancer Institute, studies have shown a disturbing connection between exposure to AFFF and the development of various health conditions [2]. One such condition is thyroid disease, including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Grave’s disease, and Hashimoto’s disease.

The accumulation of PFAS chemicals like PFOS, found in AFFF, can cause cytotoxic effects on thyroid cells and interfere with thyroid hormone production. Exposure to PFAS from AFFF has also been linked to an increase in cholesterol levels, alteration in liver enzymes, and pre-eclampsia in pregnant women.

Liver diseases, including the risk of fatty liver and hepatocellular carcinoma, have been associated with the accumulation of PFAS from AFFF exposure. But the health risks don’t stop there. Exposure to AFFF has also been linked to various cancers, including kidney, testicular, prostate, and bladder cancers, and other diseases like ulcerative colitis.

Does Firefighting Foam Contain PFAS?

Firefighting foam does contain PFAS. PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of artificial chemicals that have been used in various industries worldwide since the 1940s.

AFFF, used to suppress Class B fires, contains toxic substances like PFOA and PFOS, which are PFAS compounds known for their strong 8-carbon atom chains.

PFAS are extremely resistant to environmental and metabolic degradation due to the presence of perfluoroalkyl moieties, earning them the nickname “forever chemicals.”

Common Injuries Linked To Firefighting Foam PFAS

According to the ATSDR Organization, exposure to AFFF and the PFAS compounds it contains can lead to a host of health problems. Studies have found an increased risk of thyroid diseases, such as hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Grave’s disease, and Hashimoto’s disease, among individuals exposed to PFAS in AFFF [3].

Studies on firefighters’ cancer suggest that firefighters have a higher cancer risk compared to the general population – National Library of Medicine

Furthermore, the accumulation of PFAS chemicals like PFOS can cause cytotoxic effects on thyroid cells and interfere with thyroid hormone production.

The health risks associated with AFFF exposure include:

  • Thyroid conditions
  • Liver diseases, including the risk of fatty liver and hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Pre-eclampsia in pregnant women is a potentially dangerous pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure.

It has also been linked to other diseases like ulcerative colitis. The severity and diversity of these health risks underline the potential danger posed by AFFF and the importance of seeking legal recourse if you have been affected.

Who Qualifies for the AFFF Lawsuit in Rhode Island?

Firefighters and servicemembers in Rhode Island who have used AFFF and later developed cancer qualify for the AFFF lawsuit in Rhode Island. This compensation can help cover medical expenses and other related costs. Their family members may also be eligible to file a lawsuit in confirmed cases.

The alleged health conditions resulting from AFFF exposure include:

How Do AFFF Lawsuits Work?

AFFF lawsuits work by consolidating numerous plaintiffs and large corporations into complex legal battles. These cases are typically consolidated into an MDL (multidistrict litigation) to streamline legal proceedings and aim for consistency in decisions and settlement amounts.

The AFFF litigation is a national issue, with Rhode Island being one of the states involved, where cases are consolidated into the MDL to manage them more efficiently.

The AFFF MDL, officially cited as MDL-2873, is overseen by Judge Richard Gergel in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, who coordinates pretrial proceedings for numerous claims against AFFF manufacturers.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits Settlement Amounts in Rhode Island

As we navigate the complex legal landscape of AFFF lawsuits, it’s essential to understand the potential compensation that victims may be eligible for.

People living with cancer due to firefighting foam exposure have filed lawsuits to seek compensation from manufacturers for their disease. Settlements in PFAS exposure cases include:

  • A $10.3 Billion settlement with 3M
  • A $4 Billion settlement with DuPont, Chemours, and Corteva
  • An $850 Million settlement with 3M for polluting Minnesota groundwater.

Firefighters diagnosed with cancers such as pancreatic, bladder, breast, colon, kidney, leukemia, liver, lymphoma, testicular, thyroid, or prostate cancer may be eligible for settlements.

AFFF settlements can be negotiated without going to court or decided by a verdict if the case goes to trial. The legal process for pursuing a settlement includes:

  • Determining eligibility
  • Gathering evidence
  • Filing claims before deadlines
  • Negotiating settlements or arguing the case in trial

There are no upfront costs or hourly fees for victims seeking an AFFF settlement when working with a law firm on a contingency basis.

Potential Compensation for Victims of Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits in Rhode Island

When it comes to settlements in AFFF lawsuits, potential compensation may be influenced by factors such as the type of cancer, the duration of exposure to AFFF, and the severity of the disease.

While specific examples of successful AFFF lawsuit settlements in Rhode Island were not found, settlement discussions are ongoing and focus on resolving water contamination claims as personal injury and wrongful death claims continue to be prosecuted.

Claimants in AFFF lawsuits typically seek damages, including:

The absence of specific successful settlement examples from Rhode Island does not preclude claimants from seeking significant compensation, as ongoing litigation and discussion suggest that settlements can still be reached.

While we may not have concrete examples of AFFF lawsuit settlements in Rhode Island, the ongoing litigation and discussions indicate that potential compensation is still on the horizon. Those affected by AFFF exposure need to remain hopeful and continue their pursuit of justice.

Filing a Rhode Island Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuit

If you or someone you know in Rhode Island has been diagnosed with cancer after being exposed to AFFF, you may be contemplating the steps to initiate a legal claim.

Residents of Rhode Island who have encountered AFFF and have since been diagnosed with cancer have the right to seek legal counsel and pursue a lawsuit within the state’s statute of limitations. If this situation applies to you, it is imperative to take swift action and begin the legal process without delay.

Types of Evidence To Present

When filing an AFFF lawsuit, certain types of evidence can strengthen your case. This evidence may include:

  • Medical records indicating your health condition
  • Employment records showing your exposure to AFFF
  • Expert testimony linking your disease to AFFF exposure

Collecting this evidence can be a daunting task, but it’s a crucial step in building a strong case. Your legal team can help you gather the necessary documentation and advise you on how best to present your evidence.

It’s also important to remember that each AFFF lawsuit is unique, and the type of evidence needed might vary depending on the specifics of your case. Your legal team can guide you through this process, ensuring you have the best possible chance of a successful outcome.

Rhode Island Statute of Limitation

When you’re considering filing an AFFF lawsuit in Rhode Island, it’s crucial to be aware of the state’s statute of limitations. This is the time limit within which you must file your claim. In Rhode Island, personal injury claims, including AFFF lawsuits, generally have a statute of limitations of three years from the date the injury occurred.

There are, however, exceptions to this rule. For instance, if you were under a disability, such as being a minor or of unsound mind, or if you were outside the U.S., you may be allowed to file your lawsuit after the removal of the disability or upon your return to the U.S.

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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 Rhode Island Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawyers

At Schmidt & Clark, LLP we stand with you during these pivotal moments. Should you or your relatives suffer from injuries linked to firefighting foam exposure, we encourage you to reach out. Our proficient team specializes in such legal matters and pledges to support you at every stage.

It’s crucial to grasp your legal entitlements and determine your qualification for a firefighting foam litigation. We offer no-cost consultations, and our services are rendered on a contingency basis, meaning you incur no fees unless we secure a favorable verdict or settlement for you. 

Reach out to Schmidt & Clark for an in-depth analysis of your firefighting foam-related legal matter.

Reference:

  1. https://dec.alaska.gov/spar/csp/pfas/firefighting-foam/
  2. https://dceg.cancer.gov/research/what-we-study/pfas
  3. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/health-effects/index.html

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