Significant Ruling in PFAS Litigation Could Impact Insurance Coverage

Red pencil on Insurance coverage document

The current “case to watch” regarding PFAS is the MDL in the US District Court for the District of South Carolina, Judge Gergel presiding.

October 10, 2022
Sara C. Tilitz & Lynndon K. Groff - White and Williams LLP

Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, commonly known as PFAS, have served as a key component in numerous industrial and consumer products for decades. These “forever chemicals,” which have been associated with environmental contamination and adverse health outcomes, have garnered steadily-growing attention from regulatory authorities, the plaintiffs’ bar, and, by extension, the insurance industry.

The current “case to watch” regarding PFAS is the multidistrict litigation (“MDL”) in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, Judge Gergel presiding. The MDL is comprised of well over 2,000 cases brought by both individual plaintiffs and state and local governments arising out of the manufacturing and/or use of aqueous film forming foam, also known as AFFF. The use of AFFF, which was historically employed in firefighting operations, including those undertaken by the United States military, allegedly causes the release of two types of PFAS into the environment – PFOS and PFOA.

On September 16, 2022, Judge Gergel denied a motion for partial summary judgment filed by defendant 3M Company and other AFFF defendant manufacturers on the government contractor immunity defense. Although not an insurance coverage decision, the ruling is significant in the context of PFAS litigation and could have insurance coverage implications.

Reprinted courtesy of Sara C. Tilitz, White and Williams LLP and Lynndon K. Groff, White and Williams LLP
Ms. Tilitz may be contacted at tilitzs@whiteandwilliams.com
Mr. Groff may be contacted at groffl@whiteandwilliams.com



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