Taft partner Rob Bilott is proposed co-class counsel for plaintiffs in a $17.5 million class action settlement announced on Jan. 7 involving Tyco Fire Products L.P. (Tyco) and others. The proposed settlement would compensate hundreds of people in Wisconsin who alleged that they were injured when private drinking water wells were contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances ((PFAS) “forever chemicals” from aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF)) used at a Tyco fire training facility. Because Tyco is already arranging for clean water for those impacted in the class area, the settlement would provide compensation for individual property damage claims, for claims of exposure to PFAS, and for personal injury claims of those diagnosed with one or more of five diseases linked to PFAS exposure in drinking water by the C8 Science Panel, which was created under a previous class settlement in West Virginia where Bilott was class counsel.
The proposed Wisconsin settlement is subject to approval by Judge Richard B. Gergel of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, who is overseeing coordinated pre-trial proceedings in the nationwide multidistrict litigation (MDL) created for AFFF-related claims, and where Bilott serves as advisory counsel to plaintiffs. If approved, the Wisconsin class settlement would be the first of its kind in the nationwide AFFF MDL proceedings.
Dubbed by The New York Times Magazine as “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare” in an article published on Jan. 6, 2016, Bilott has represented a diverse array of clients, nationwide, who have been harmed by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as “Forever Chemicals.” His work is the subject of a recent feature film, “Dark Waters,” and the documentary “The Devil We Know,” and is detailed in his book, “Exposure: Poisoned Water, Corporate Greed, and One Lawyer’s Twenty-year Battle Against DuPont.”
Bilott is a partner in Taft’s Environmental, Litigation, and Product Liability and Personal Injury practices.