In multidistrict litigation in South Carolina surrounding the alleged effects of PFAS-containing aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) used in firefighting, the number of plaintiffs continues to grow and the short-term and long-term relief requested continues to evolve. The state of New Mexico, whose individual case addressing alleged groundwater contamination at two local Air Force bases was recently included in the AFFF Multidistrict Litigation (MDL), has asked the court this week for a preliminary injunction that would require those military bases to conduct a wide range of testing for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS).
Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), any person “who has contributed or is contributing to” any part of the life cycle of hazardous waste that may present “an imminent and substantial endangerment to health or the environment” is liable and can have relief sought against them. New Mexico is applying this provision of RCRA to seek relief. The tests requested would include not only evaluation of the local water supply, but also blood tests for locals—both human and animal—to identify the presence of any health problems alleged to be linked to AFFF, like high cholesterol and thyroid issues.
The Attorney General of the State of New Mexico previously filed this same injunction in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico, but the state’s case was transferred prior to any action being taken on the injunction. The AFFF MDL, which now includes more than 500 pending cases related to PFAS-containing firefighting foam, was created to consolidate similar claims brought by a variety of plaintiffs against a select number of defendants. The request for injunction will be evaluated and ruled upon by the Honorable Richard M. Gergel, the judge appointed to oversee the MDL.
Our attorneys have been at the forefront of PFAS issues, including giving presentations as to the future waves of litigation stemming from PFAS issues. For more information, please contact any of our PFAS – Toxic Torts Team: Jessica Deyoe, Suzanne Englot, Alexandra Fraher, or John Gardella.
Suzanne Englot, Esq.