June 22, 2023  |  Press Releases

The agreement with 3M Company is the largest drinking water contamination settlement in U.S. history.

DALLAS – Today, the nationally recognized law firm Baron & Budd announced that 3M Company has agreed to pay up to a record $12.5 Billion nationwide class settlement with public water systems that detect PFAS chemicals in their drinking water supplies. The lawsuits allege that 3M and several other companies manufactured and/or sold products containing PFAS, despite being aware of the chemicals’ propensity to contaminate the environment and pose potential health risks to humans, including the development of cancers. 

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are man-made chemicals that are used in the manufacturing of aqueous film forming foam (AFFF). Airports, military bases, and fire training centers use AFFF as a firefighting agent to control and extinguish Class B fuel fires. 3M is the only company that manufactured and/or sold AFFF containing PFOS.

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. Settlement funds will pay public water systems that have already detected PFAS in their water, will pay the costs of testing for those that have not yet tested, and will provide funds to those that find PFAS after testing. These funds are well-timed to help public water systems comply with proposed federal standards that would drastically restrict PFAS in drinking water and require increased testing and, potentially, steps to remove PFAS from water.

“PFAS is the biggest chemical threat to America’s collective public drinking water and has been found in public water systems throughout the country affecting millions of Americans,” said Scott Summy. We have reached the largest drinking water settlement in American history which will be used to help filter PFAS from drinking water that is served to the public. The result is that millions of Americans will have healthier lives without PFAS in their drinking water.”

This settlement comes just weeks after Baron & Budd attorneys announced a major $1.185 Billion settlement with DuPont in the same PFAS litigation. Since 2018, approximately 300 drinking water providers have filed similar lawsuits. Many of the suits allege that the use of AFFF was a primary source of the PFAS contamination.  The cases name a number of AFFF manufacturers and claim that they could have produced the foam with safer chemicals. In addition to drinking water providers, lawsuits have also been filed by several states, a number of airports and fire-training facilities, private well owners, and individuals alleging personal injuries.

There are now thousands of cases alleging PFAS-related harms. Although the cases were filed in various states across the country, the manufacturers asked the federal court system to employ a procedure that allows for several similar cases to be consolidated before one judge for pretrial proceedings in what is known as Multidistrict Litigation (or “MDL”).  The MDL was created in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina before Judge Richard Gergel.

This settlement does not affect the water providers’ claims against the other defendants, nor does the settlement affect the cases brought by entities and people alleging harms other than drinking water contamination.  All cases will continue against the 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.

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