3M PFAS Settlement With Public Water Providers Receives Final Approval By MDL Judge

$10.5 to $12.5 billion in PFAS settlement payouts will begin later this year, to cover remediation costs incurred by participating public water providers. However, settlement does not resolve PFAS injury lawsuits.

The U.S. District Judge overseeing all federal PFAS lawsuits has granted final approval to a $10.5 to $12.5 billion settlement between 3M Companies and various water providers, which was first announced last year, resolving claims over costs associated with removing toxic chemicals in firefighting foam from public water systems.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) include a group of over 15,000 man-made substances that have been used for decades to resist grease, oil and water. However, they are known to persist in the environment and build up in the human body, increasing the risk of various health conditions, including testicular cancer, kidney cancer, ulcerative colitis and other side effects.

High volumes of the chemicals have been found in aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) products used for decades by the U.S. military and local fire departments to combat fuel based fires. However, runoff from the AFFF foam has caused widespread public water contamination in many communities, leaving local cities and water suppliers to deal with the clean up costs.

3M Company and other manufacturers now face hundreds of water contamination lawsuits, each raising similar allegations that the companies knew about health risks associated with with the “forever chemicals”, but continued to manufacture and distribute the chemicals. The companies also face thousands of AFFF cancer lawsuits brought by firefighters, who were directly exposed to large volumes of the chemicals during training or response exercises.

Learn More About

Firefighting Foam Lawsuits

Exposure to firefighting foam chemicals may result in an increased risk of cancer for firefighters, military and airport personnel.


Given common questions of fact and law presented in the litigation, all lawsuits over PFAS chemicals are currently centralized before U.S. District Judge Richard M. Gergel in the District of South Carolina, for coordinated discovery, pretrial proceedings and a series of early bellwether trials.

3M PFAS Settlement Granted Final Approval

Shortly before the first public water provider lawsuit was set to go before a jury last summer, a massive 3M PFAS settlement was reached to provide billions to cover remediation costs to remove the toxic chemicals from drinking water supplies.

Despite objections by several entities, which argued that the estimated $10.5 billion to $12.5 billion was insufficient, Judge Gergel entered an order (PDF) on March 29, granting final approval for the settlement, which is expected to provide payouts over a period of 13 years.

The first PFAS settlement payments will start going out in the third quarter of 2024, according to the order. However, the agreement excludes public water systems linked to a specific PFAS-manufacturing facility owned by 3M, as well as public water systems owned by state governments.

Individual PFAS injury lawsuits are also excluded from the settlement, and 3M Company has not yet agreed to make payments to firefighters diagnosed with cancer, or individuals who claim they developed specific conditions after drinking contaminated water.

April 2024 PFAS Injury Lawsuits Status Update

To help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the remaining lawsuits, Judge Gergel issued a case management order last year, which directed the parties to prepare a group of 28 PFAS injury claims to serve as a bellwether pool.

These cases are being prepared for a series of early trial dates, which will focus on plaintiffs who say they were exposed to PFAS through drinking contaminated water, as opposed to direct exposure claims brought by firefighters.

The personal injury bellwether claims will include eight kidney cancer claims, eight testicular cancer claims, eight thyroid disease claims and four ulcerative colitis claims involving individuals exposed to contaminated water near Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Springs Municipal Airport, the Willow Grove Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base and the Naval Air Warfare Center in Warminster.

While the outcome of these early bellwether trials will not have any binding impact on other claims, it is expected that the amount of any AFFF lawsuit payout awarded by juries may influence future firefighter cancer settlement negotiations to resolve the litigation.


Share Your Comments

I authorize the above comments be posted on this page*

Want your comments reviewed by a lawyer?

To have an attorney review your comments and contact you about a potential case, provide your contact information below. This will not be published.

NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

More Top Stories

Management of Ozempic Lawsuit Pretrial Proceedings To Be Reassigned Following Death of MDL Judge
Management of Ozempic Lawsuit Pretrial Proceedings To Be Reassigned Following Death of MDL Judge (Posted 3 days ago)

The judge overseeing Ozempic lawsuits consolidated in federal court has died, requiring a new judge to be assigned to oversee coordinated pretrial proceedings over claims the diabetes drug and similar medications caused stomach paralysis and other intestinal complications.