Deadlines are upcoming related to the multi-district per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) litigation. The relevant settlements are with DuPont, Chemours, and Corteva (collectively, DuPont) and 3M, parties who allegedly manufactured various PFAS chemicals. The currently-pending settlements cover $1.185 billion for DuPont and $10.5-$12.5 billion for 3M.
The litigation is focused on alleged contamination of drinking water caused by DuPont’s and 3M’s alleged manufacture of PFAS chemicals. PFAS are a family of manmade chemicals that are used due to beneficial properties like repelling water. They are a current contaminant of interest given their prevalence, the fact that they bioaccumulate (quantities build up over time in people and animals), and human health risks. They are a focus for President Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency, which has a PFAS strategic roadmap that includes a maximum contaminant level in drinking water and other actions.
The parties have set up a website that provides important details related to the litigation and the proposed settlements – https://www.pfaswatersettlement.com/. That website has pages for both 3M and DuPont that include core documents, including the 3M draft settlement and the DuPont draft settlement and FAQs for both 3M and DuPont.
An important fact to understand about the 3M and DuPont settlements is that every water provider that falls under the settlement agreements’ broad definitions are automatically included in the settlement agreement. In other words, eligible water providers are automatically included in the settlement and must proactively opt-out if they do not want to be part of the settlement.
Related to these issues, there are important deadlines coming up in both the 3M and DuPont cases. For both cases, the deadline to submit objections is November 11, 2023. For DuPont, the deadline to opt out (submit a request for exclusion) is December 4, 2023. For 3M, the opt out deadline is December 11, 2023. Another significant upcoming deadline is the court’s final fairness hearing, which is the final opportunity for parties to register their support for or opposition to the draft settlements. The final fairness hearing is December 14, 2023 at 10:00 AM EST for DuPont and February 4, 2023 at 10:00 AM EST for 3M. The website for the settlement includes these dates as well as a number of other deadlines for each pending settlement.
Deciding whether to opt in or out of the settlement agreements is a significant decision for water providers. The attorneys at Nossaman LLP are available to help any provider make this decision.
Alex Van Roekel provides counsel to clients on state and federal water law issues including water rights, groundwater management and public policy within the water sector. He also assists clients in proceedings in front of the ...
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