Vermont PFAS Legislation and Litigation Updates

Apr 20, 2022 | Environmental, PFAS, Uncategorized

Two significant events have occurred out of Vermont in April 2022 involving PFAS issues – one on the litigation front and one on the legislative front. Both are of considerable note to anyone actively following PFAS issues, with the pending legislation poised to have considerable impacts on PFAS litigation in Vermont for years to come. Companies with legacy or current PFAS use issues must pay close attention to these developments and understand how they will impact business interests.

Vermont PFAS Litigation Settlement

On April 18, 2022, a federal judge approved a proposed $34 million settlement in a class action lawsuit involving manufacturer Saint-Gobain. A lawsuit was filed in 2016 against Saint-Gobain, in which it was alleged that the company produced fabrics coated with PFAS (specifically, PFOA) from 1969 – 2002. The discharge and effluent from the manufacturing process allegedly contaminated local drinking water sources, including drinking wells in the Bennington, Vermont region. $26.2 million of the settlement amount would be placed into a fund intended to compensate plaintiffs for property damage and devaluation. $6 million would be placed into a fund for a 15 year PFOA medical monitoring program for the plaintiffs. Several years ago, Saint-Gobain paid $40 million o comply with state consent orders to extend municipal water lines and provide clean drinking water to homes with contaminated wells.

Conclusion

Of concern to many companies is the fact that some proponents of medical monitoring damages argue that relatively little must be alleged or proven in order to obtain monitoring cost damages. With respect to PFAS, which are seen as ubiquitous and difficult to remove from the environment, the limited proof that may need to offered may be as simple as proving that PFAS are present in the drinking water or soil of the class of citizens that brought the lawsuit. Many companies will be in a position whereby they need to determine the financial feasibility of being able to fund a medical monitoring settlement as opposed to defend the allegations brought in the lawsuit.

CMBG3 Law is following judicial, legislative, administrative, and scientific developments relating to PFAS. More information about the services we can provide, including risk assessments, to ensure your business is ready for any intersection with these substances can be found on our PFAS Litigation page.

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 the Chair of our PFAS – Toxic Torts Team: John Gardella.

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