Faraci Lange, LLP is excited to announce that the hotly contested Hoosick Falls PFOA water contamination class action lawsuit reached a fair and justified settlement that was recently approved by a federal judge. In no small thanks to the efforts of Attorney-Partner Stephen Schwarz, the case settled for $65 million and other provisions designed to take care of the people of Hoosick Falls, who were exposed to polluted public and private water due to corporate negligence. None of the 2,500 plaintiffs have objected to the settlement, which suggests it should be finalized shortly now that a federal judge has approved it, too. As is usual in class action lawsuits, the 10 lead plaintiffs in this case will split an additional $250,000 under this proposal for their hard work and dedication.
The case was brought against Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, Honeywell International, 3M, and DuPont Co. for negligent disposal, storage, and distribution practices of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) compound used in multiple factories and facilities in the region. Thousands of residents in the town had elevated levels of PFOA in their bloodstream, leading to the theory that some sort of localized contamination must be causing the unsafe medical phenomena. Investigations quickly turned to the plastics manufacturing companies operating in the area. It was determined that PFOA used at those factories was able to leak into local water supplies, directly exposing residents to the dangerous chemical compound for many years.
Beyond the $65 million given to the plaintiff class, the settlement includes an agreement to create a health monitoring system for the people of Hoosick Falls. About $23 million will be used to provide at least 10 years of medical monitoring, which will include no-cost health screenings and certain treatments for diseases known to be caused or worsened by PFOA exposure. The medical assistance will only be available to residents who drank contaminated water for at least six months between 1996 and 2016, the latter date being when the cause of the contamination was first brought under the public eye.
Part of the settlement is also designed to compensate Hoosick Falls property owners for irreversible damage to the value of their real estate properties. It is not a stretch to assume that the vast majority of shoppers in the real estate market will want to steer clear of Hoosick Falls for quite some time due to valid concerns about the safety of the town’s water supplies. As such, the price of homes and businesses there has dropped and likely will continue to do so. It might be many years or decades until the water supplies are deemed “normal” again.
From all of us at Faraci Lange, LLP, we want to congratulate the plaintiff class on this outstanding legal victory. We hope the settlement will help put some financial worries at ease and that the medical monitoring program will help protect others from potential health concerns in the future. We want to thank Attorney Schwarz for his work on this case, all the other legal professionals who helped represent the good people of Hoosick Falls, and the plaintiff class – especially the lead plaintiffs – who had the courage to stand up to these major corporations.
For more information about this case, you can click here to read a full article from Times Union. This article features and quotes Attorney Stephen Schwarz. You can also learn more about how this case unfolded across the years by visiting our blog. To speak with a member of Faraci Lange, LLP about a potential case or class action, please feel free to use our online contact form. Thank you.