Background

Recently, a class action lawsuit was filed in Connecticut alleging that PFAS air emissions caused contamination to nearby land. The facility was a tissue facility that in the past manufactured diapers which were made with PFAS. The case is notable because it is one of the first PFAS class action lawsuits filed that involves allegations of air emissions pollution. Also, the case shows the extent of risk that manufacturing and industrial companies face today regarding PFAS contamination.

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Subject of the Suit

The lawsuit focuses on a Kimberly-Clark facility in New Milford, Connecticut that has been in operation since the 1950s. The facility has in the past and presently continues to manufacture facial tissues and diaper products. The Complaint alleges that diapers traditionally used PFAS in the outer lining so as to prevent liquid from leaking through the diapers. The Complaint also alleges that PFAS has been used as necessary agents to convert wood pulp into paper products. However, the lawsuit does not claim that Kimberly-Clark’s Connecticut facility directly used PFAS in manufacturing diapers, facial tissue, or toilet paper. Rather, the lawsuit simply alleges the historical context and then states that Kimberly-Clark made all of those products. It then adds that when another Kimberly-Clark facility closed in California, high levels of PFAS were detected in the area. Further, plaintiffs allege that the company owned its own landfill, which may have contributed to PFAS leaching into the surrounding area.

Significance

According to the Complaint, the defendant may not have used PFAS intentionally in its products or processes. Regardless, the company may still be liable for pollution and medical monitoring damages from an unintentional and perhaps unknowing use of PFAS. Additionally, the lawsuit reflects a trend of lawsuits for property damages and personal injury related specifically to PFAS in air emissions. While the EPA and states have not yet promulgated enforceable air emissions standards, this has not deterred class action litigation. The fact is emissions are so prevalent that companies that utilize stack emissions may be easy targets for litigation from plaintiffs. Finally, although Connecticut has not recognized medical monitoring as a relief, the case brings claims for medical monitoring relief regardless. This establishes a key legal battle in the case, as determining whether cellular changes alone are enough for medical monitoring relief are essential to the case.

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After reviewing your medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages, we can help you understand what your case is worth and plan a road map going forward.
After reviewing your medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages, we can help you understand what your case is worth and plan a road map going forward.

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