“Right now we are gathering cases and over the next six months we will start filing in certain federal courts around the country and pull them into a Multi-District Litigation,” Barfield explains. Although based in Houston, Barfield’s firm is handling various complaints nationwide. “Individuals may be impacted from a water source. We are also talking with communities and municipalities that may have been exposed to PFAS in their drinking water. As well, firefighters, police and first responders call, all of whom have been repeatedly exposed to toxic fire foam.”
Many individuals are filing personal injury lawsuits against manufacturers of AFFF foam after exposure to PFAS. Municipalities have filed lawsuits alleging that certain makers of products containing PFAS (and there are many) knowingly sold their harmful products to consumers, which has resulted in countless injuries – including several types of cancers. AFFF exposure has been arguably linked to the following:
• Kidney Cancer
• Chronic Kidney Disease
• Acute Kidney Failure
• Pancreatic Cancer
• Testicular Cancer
• Prostate Cancer
• Bladder Cancer
During the initial phone call, Barfield discusses the best chances of prevailing with a potential claim. The following are three likely options:
- Join a mass tort where all cases are filed in one court or a small number of courts
- Join a class action lawsuit (like the first firefighting foam suit in Wisconsin that settled this month for $17.5 million)
- File an individual lawsuit
PFAS Class Action Lawsuit
You may be able to join a PFAS class action lawsuit if you have been tested and this toxic chemical found in your blood is at a “certain” level. (Almost everyone in the U.S. has PFAS in their blood, hence being called the ‘forever chemical”.) There are currently several class-action lawsuits ongoing in several states and nationwide against the manufacturers of PFAS, including one in Ohio, which can potentially include every U.S. resident with a detectable amount of PFAS in their blood.
And about 1,100 residents in Peshtigo, Wisconsin will share a $15 million payout with Tyco Fire Products due to well-water contamination and property damage from PFAS in firefighting foam. (Case Number 2:19-cv-00422 Campbell v. Tyco Fire Products et al. is part of the Aqueous Film-Forming Foams Products Liability Litigation — MDL Number 2:18-MN-2873.)
Individual PFAS Lawsuit
What are your best chances as an individual? Should you get your community involved? First, reach out to an attorney. “Our firm will send experts to test the groundwater and drinking water,” says Barfield. “Some people ask what they should do after being exposed to AFFF and they don’t have any health issues – yet. There is a way to test your exposure level and again, we have experts who can do that too.”
Regardless where you live, Barfield says his firm works with experts and labs nationwide and there is typically no cost involved to get tested – your attorney will handle all expenses related to testing.
“For instance, if 500 people have been exposed to PFAS or Aqueous film forming foam (AFFF), our firm may test a small sample of the resident population to get some understanding of the exposure. If it looks like there has been widespread exposure, we will then test a larger sample of the total population of whom the experts believe might have been exposed.
According to Circle of Blue, a non-profit involved with the coalition of the UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate, there has been a wave of litigation from individuals exposed to these chemicals now wanting compensation. Billions of dollars in damages are potentially at stake in over a hundred lawsuits against chemical companies, manufacturers, the U.S. military, and others for contaminating water supplies with toxic PFAS. The lawsuits target several defendants that manufactured firefighting foams and other products that use PFAS chemicals but 3M, Tyco Fire Products, and Chemguard are prominent.
READ MORE PFAS HEALTH RISKS LEGAL NEWS
Attorney William (Bill) Barfield has handled thousands of cases and has an impressive history of legal victories with McDonald Worley law firm. He has fought tirelessly for justice on behalf of his clients, from issues such as nursing home neglect and abuse to defective medical devices to personal injury— and more.
As an accomplished trial lawyer, Bill continues to be recognized by his peers and the judiciary for his many accomplishments. He was selected in 2015 as a member of the Nation’s Top One Percent by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel-- an organization dedicated to promoting the highest standards of legal excellence.