CSPT Press Release 6/22/23
BARON & BUDD AND COSSICH, SUMICH, PARSIOLA & TAYLOR OBTAIN HISTORIC $12.5 BILLION SETTLEMENT WITH 3M COMPANY TO RESOLVE PFAS CONTAMINATION SUITS FOR PUBLIC WATER PROVIDERS
The settlement with 3M Company marks a historic milestone as the largest resolution for drinking water contamination in the United States.
NEW ORLEANS – Today, the nationally recognized law firms of Baron & Budd and Cossich, Sumich, Parsiola & Taylor announced that 3M Company has agreed to a nationwide class settlement, amounting to a record-breaking sum of up to $12.5 billion, with public water systems affected by PFAS chemicals in their drinking water. The lawsuits alleged that 3M and several other companies knowingly manufactured and/or sold products containing PFAS despite being aware of their detrimental impact on the environment.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are man-made chemicals used in manufacturing, including in aqueous film forming foam (AFFF). Airports, military bases, and fire training centers used AFFF as a firefighting agent to control and extinguish Class B fuel fires. PFAS are called ‘forever chemicals’ because they do not break down in the environment and are toxic at extremely low levels.
Baron & Budd shareholder Scott Summy is court appointed co-lead counsel and one of the architects of the comprehensive settlement structure that addresses PFAS in public water systems across the country. Cossich, Sumich, Parsiola & Taylor partners Christina Cossich and Phil Cossich, Jr. teamed with Summy to develop this historic settlement. The settlement funds will be allocated to public water systems that have already identified PFAS in their water, as well as cover the costs of testing for PFAS in systems yet to undergo such assessments. Additional funds will be made available to public water systems that discover PFAS contamination after testing. These funds will aid public water systems in meeting proposed federal standards that impose significant restrictions on PFAS levels in drinking water.
“PFAS poses a significant chemical threat to the drinking water supply of Americans nationwide, impacting millions of individuals,” stated Scott Summy. “We have achieved a historic milestone with the largest-ever settlement in American history specifically aimed at addressing PFAS contamination in public drinking water systems. These funds will be instrumental in implementing measures to remove PFAS from public drinking water, ultimately leading to healthier lives for millions of Americans.”
“Everyone deserves access to clean drinking water — PFAS contamination is the largest drinking water crisis in the country and this settlement will help millions of Americans finally achieve this basic right,” said Christina Cossich.
This settlement follows closely on the heels of a major $1.185 billion resolution with DuPont in the same PFAS litigation. Since 2018, numerous drinking water providers have filed similar lawsuits. Many of the suits allege that the use of AFFF was a primary source of PFAS contamination. These cases name several AFFF manufacturers and claim that they could have produced the foam with safer chemicals. In addition to drinking water providers, many states, airports, fire-training facilities, private well owners, and individuals also filed lawsuits alleging damages from PFAS contamination.
There are now thousands of cases alleging PFAS-related harms. Although the cases were initially filed in various states across the country, the manufacturers asked the federal court system to employ a procedure that allows for similar cases to be consolidated before one judge for pretrial proceedings in what is known as a Multidistrict Litigation (or “MDL”). This MDL was created in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina before Judge Richard Gergel.
“Currently, PFAS exist everywhere – it’s in the environment, our water, and even our blood. Today’s historic settlement and the recent settlement with DuPont are important steps forward in addressing this contamination crisis,” said Phil Cossich.
It is important to note that this settlement does not impact public water providers’ claims against other defendants, nor does it affect cases brought forth by those alleging harms unrelated to drinking water contamination. Litigation will proceed against non-settling manufacturers, including Tyco Fire Products, LP, and Chemguard, Inc.
About Baron & Budd, P.C.
Baron & Budd, P.C. is among the largest and most accomplished plaintiffs’ law firms in the country. With more than 45 years of experience, Baron & Budd has the expertise and resources to handle complex litigation throughout the United States. As a law firm that takes pride in remaining at the forefront of litigation, Baron & Budd has spearheaded many significant cases for hundreds of entities and thousands of individuals. Since the firm was founded in 1977, Baron & Budd has achieved substantial national acclaim for its work on cutting-edge litigation, trying hundreds of cases to verdict and settling tens of thousands of cases in areas of litigation as diverse and significant as dangerous and highly addictive pharmaceuticals, defective medical devices, asbestos and mesothelioma, California wildfires and environmental contamination, fraudulent banking practices, e-cigarettes, motor vehicles, federal whistleblower cases, and other consumer fraud issues.
About Cossich, Sumich, Parsiola & Taylor, LLC
Based in Louisiana and founded in 1994, Cossich, Sumich, Parsiola and Taylor, LLC (CSPT) represents its clients in a wide array of mass tort litigation, environmental litigation, legacy oilfield contamination, and toxic torts. The firm also has extensive experience in complex litigation, often fighting against multinational corporations who have harmed its clients. In the BP Oil Spill Multidistrict Litigation, CSPT lawyers were chosen to serve on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee and Plaintiffs’ Science Committee because of the firm’s history of obtaining justice. In the current AFFF MDL, both Christina Cossich and Philip Cossich, Jr., have once again been selected to serve leadership roles on the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee. CSPT has obtained numerous multi-million-dollar settlements and verdicts for its clients by fighting for fair compensation and justice. At CSPT, each attorney is committed to delivering quality legal solutions for some of today’s most difficult issues, and the goal is to do so with a constant focus on personal attention to achieve maximum results.
Cossich, Sumich, Parsiola & Taylor