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Utah Firefighter Foam Lawsuit: Get the Right Attorney

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

The Utah firefighter foam lawsuit has become a focal point for those exposed to AFFF, highlighting claims of negligence against companies like DuPont and 3M. This article delves into the implications for Utah firefighters and the meaning of legal proceedings in 2024.

If you or someone close to you has suffered from exposure to firefighting foam, Schmidt & Clark, LLP, is ready to assist. Renowned for our expertise in representing plaintiffs, our foremost priority is to ensure that you obtain the justice and rightful compensation you deserve.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits

Utah firefighters and military personnel have faced a grim turn due to the use of AFFF firefighting foam in the line of duty. A surge in cancer diagnoses has led to a wave of firefighting foam lawsuits, including a foam lawsuit.

One such afff firefighting foam lawsuit, among the now exceeding 6,700 in Utah alone, accuses manufacturers of negligence and failure to warn about the health risks associated with the foam.

In these lawsuits, major chemical manufacturers like DuPont, 3M, and several others are the primary defendants. Allegations focus on the failure to warn about the increased cancer risk from exposure, along with negligent design, manufacture, and sale of AFFF products.

Key Points from Lawsuits

These AFFF lawsuits carry substantial weight. Compelling points are raised in the lawsuits that have caused ripples in the firefighting community. The allegations of negligence and failure to warn about the health risks of AFFF usage have raised eyebrows and apprehensions. The defendants are accused of knowing about these health risks and yet choosing to keep silent.

The trend of increasing cases filed against AFFF manufacturers shows no signs of deceleration. This is indicative of the widespread impact and severity of the issue. With over 6,700 cases pending in the multi-district litigation (MDL), the stakes are high, and so is the need for justice.

What Is AFFF?

According to the Division of Spill Prevention and Response 2022 study, AFFF is an acronym for aqueous film-forming foam and is typically employed in firefighting to extinguish flammable liquid fires [1].

This AFFF foam forms a film that helps to smother the fire and prevent reignition. The foam forms a film that cuts off the fuel supply to the fire, effectively smothering it. However, AFFF contains PFAS chemicals, which are toxic and have been linked to various health issues.

Moreover, PFAS chemicals from AFFF accumulate in the human body, increasing the risk of developing cancer over time due to the presence of toxic chemicals.

Who Are The Defendants In AFFF Lawsuits in Utah?

The defendants in AFFF lawsuits in Utah include major manufacturers like DuPont, 3M, and several other companies that produced and sold AFFF products. The lawsuits claim that these companies were negligent in the design, manufacture, and sale of AFFF. More importantly, they failed to warn consumers about the potential health risks associated with the foam.

Other companies named in the AFFF lawsuits include:

  • Buckeye Fire Equipment Company
  • Chemguard, Inc.
  • Tyco Fire Products LP
  • National Foam, Inc.
  • Chemours Company (a spin-off of DuPont)

These companies are named as defendants due to their role in the production and sale of AFFF products.

As stated by the National Cancer Institute, a growing body of scientific research backs the link between firefighting foam and cancer, proving that it’s not merely speculative. The studies have identified PFAS chemicals in AFFF as a significant cause of various health issues, including cancer, for those exposed to firefighting foam [2].

PFAS is one of the major classes of carcinogenic chemicals that firefighters are exposed to as occupational hazards. Elevated levels of PFAS have been observed in firefighters’ blood serum in recent studies – National Library of Medicine

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted a multi-year study of nearly 30,000 firefighters and found that firefighters have a greater number of cancer diagnoses and cancer-related deaths.

The study also found that firefighters have twice the risk of testicular cancer compared to the general population in the U.S.

Does Firefighting Foam Contain PFAS?

As stated in the 2022 study by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, firefighting foam does contain PFAS. PFAS, or poly-fluoroalkyl substances, are a group of chemicals known for their resistance to heat, oil, and water [3]. Because they do not break down easily, they lead to persistent environmental contamination.

The presence of PFAS in AFFF is a significant concern for communities around military bases and areas where AFFF has been used or disposed of. These areas face a higher risk of PFAS contamination in their water supplies, leading to indirect exposure through groundwater.

Common Injuries Linked To Firefighting Foam PFAS

A range of health issues has been associated with PFAS exposure from AFFF. These issues range from immune system disruptions to liver damage. However, the most concerning health issue linked to PFAS exposure is cancer.

Studies have shown that firefighters who have been repeatedly exposed to AFFF over a significant period are at an increased risk for leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and other forms of life-threatening cancer.

Additionally, PFAS chemicals have been associated with a higher rate of various cancers, including:

The risk of developing these cancers increases significantly over time as PFAS chemicals accumulate in the human body, specifically in the liver and kidneys.

Who Qualifies for the AFFF Lawsuit in Utah?

Individuals who have been exposed to AFFF and have subsequently been diagnosed with cancer qualify for the AFFF lawsuit in Utah. Firefighters, military personnel, and residents who have been living near sites where AFFF was extensively used and have developed cancer are all potential plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

However, a diagnosis of cancer alone is not enough to qualify for the lawsuit. It’s crucial to demonstrate a direct connection between exposure to AFFF and the diagnosis. Hence, a detailed medical history and proof of exposure to AFFF are required to establish this connection.

How Do AFFF Lawsuits Work?

AFFF lawsuits work by consolidating individual claims into multi-district litigation (MDL) in Utah, where they are collectively managed to streamline the legal process. This consolidation is due to the similarity of allegations and defendants across cases.

However, it’s crucial to understand that while these cases are managed together, each lawsuit is treated as its entity with separate judgments or settlements based on the unique details and damages of each case.

The process of filing an AFFF lawsuit can be complex, requiring the expertise of legal counsel familiar with mass tort litigation. The MDL currently includes:

  • Over 6,000 cases
  • Several bellwether trials to predict outcomes
  • An appointed settlement mediator focuses on individual claims, particularly those with long-term AFFF exposure

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits Settlement Amounts in Utah

In Utah’s AFFF lawsuits, settlement amounts have shown significant variation, with some amounts reaching into the billions. For instance, DuPont and its subsidiaries reached a $1.18 billion settlement to resolve complaints about PFAS contamination. Similarly, 3M agreed to pay up to $10.3 billion to address municipality drinking water contamination cases.

However, the settlement amount in each case is influenced by several factors, including:

  • The severity of the illness
  • The extent of exposure to hazardous chemical
  • Financial losses incurred
  • Income lost due to the illness

In cases demonstrating particularly egregious actions by defendants, punitive damages may be considered.

Potential Compensation for Victims of Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits in Utah

A variety of damages can be claimed for compensation by victims of Utah’s firefighting foam cancer lawsuits. These may include:

  • Medical bills resulting from diseases linked to AFFF exposure
  • Lost wages due to affected work capacity
  • Pain and suffering from physical and emotional distress
  • The impact of these issues on the plaintiff’s quality of life is also taken into account when determining compensation

However, estimating the value of an AFFF claim is a complex process. It involves considering factors like:

  • The severity of the illness
  • The extent of hazardous chemical exposure
  • Financial losses incurred
  • Lost income due to illness
  • The strength of the case
  • Occupational exposure

These factors influence the potential settlement amount across various tiers.

Filing a Utah Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuit

To file an AFFF lawsuit in Utah, it’s requisite to prove an extended exposure to AFFF and a cancer diagnosis related to such exposure. It’s important to work with experienced lawyers who understand the nuances of these cases and can provide the best legal representation.

It’s also worth noting that the legal fees for AFFF lawsuits in Utah are payable on a contingency basis. This means that lawyers are only compensated if they win compensation for the client. This makes it easier for victims to seek justice, as they don’t have to worry about paying legal fees upfront.

Types of Evidence To Present

In an AFFF lawsuit, the burden of proof lies with the plaintiff. This requires presenting various types of evidence, including:

  • Medical records documenting the cancer diagnosis and the treatments undergone
  • Expert testimony from medical professionals
  • Documentation of AFFF exposure, such as work records or military service records
  • Scientific studies and research linking AFFF exposure to specific health issues

These records and evidence can establish the direct link between AFFF exposure and the resulting health issues.

Utah Statute of Limitation

The timeframe for filing an AFFF lawsuit in Utah, as per the statute of limitations, is 2-3 years from the injury date or from when the injury and its cause were discovered. This means that potential plaintiffs need to act promptly once they discover their illness and its link to AFFF exposure.

However, the “discovery rule” in Utah allows for an extension of this deadline. This rule applies when the plaintiff discovers the injury and its cause after the statutory period. In such cases, the statute of limitations starts from the date of discovery rather than the date of injury.

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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 Utah Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawyers

At Schmidt & Clark, LLP we stand ready to assist during these pivotal moments. Should you or a loved one suffer from injuries linked to firefighting foam, we urge you to reach out. Our proficient team specializes in these cases and will support you at every step.

It’s vital to comprehend your legal options and determine your eligibility for a firefighting foam lawsuit. We offer free consultations, and our services are rendered on a contingency basis—you pay nothing unless we secure a favorable resolution for your case.

For a comprehensive case assessment regarding firefighting foam exposure, get in touch with Schmidt & Clark. Allow us to be your trusted partner through this complex ordeal.

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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