CHARLESTON, S.C., August 29, 2023 –A federal district court in South Carolina granted preliminary approval today of a $12.5 billion class action settlement on behalf of public water systems nationwide over claims that major chemical manufacturer 3M contaminated water sources across the country with PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals.”
The settlement includes a fund of up to $12.5 billion to be distributed to any public water system that has detected PFAS in one or more of its water sources. Public water systems that have not yet detected PFAS but must test for contamination are also included in the settlement class. Allocation estimates detailing what public water systems can expect from the settlement were released early last week and are available at www.PFASWaterProviderSettlement.com.
The settlement is part of the multi-district litigation overseen by the Honorable Richard Gergel, who appointed a Plaintiff’s Executive Committee to lead the litigation on behalf of public water systems, and includes Michael London of Douglas & London, Paul Napoli of Napoli Shkolnik, Scott Summy of Baron & Budd LLC, Elizabeth Fegan of Fegan Scott, and Joe Rice of Motley Rice LLC.
In response to the court’s order, the above class counsel shared this statement:
“Today marks a pivotal milestone in our ongoing efforts to ensure safe and clean drinking water for communities affected by PFAS contamination. The federal court’s preliminary approval of 3M Company’s settlement with the plaintiff public water systems brings us one step closer to allocating billions of dollars towards clean drinking water for countless Americans whose lives have been disrupted by this crisis. We are grateful to the dozens of firms that came together and are optimistic that the court’s final decision will mirror this initial approval, bringing long-awaited relief and justice to communities in need.”
The settlement was reached after a five-year legal battle that involved 37.4 million pages of discovery documents and more than 160 depositions. The agreement was reached just prior to trial. This settlement with 3M and the earlier settlement with DuPont are just the first efforts to hold polluters responsible for fouling our public water supplies. There are many others who will be held responsible by the states as well as thousands of personal injury victims awaiting their day in court.
View the release on BusinessWire here.