On March 7, 2022, a Taft litigation team won class certification for plaintiffs who claim certain chemical companies knowingly jeopardized their health by contaminating their blood and bodies with toxic substances known as PFAS, or "forever chemicals." The chemicals have been linked to a variety of diseases and are notable for their incredible persistence — not only in the environment, where they do not easily degrade over time, but in humans, where the chemicals tend to accumulate and build up in human blood and organs.
U.S. District Judge Edmund A Sargus certified a class represented by Ohio firefighter Kevin Hardwick, who has worked as a firefighter for more than 40 years and now has PFAS in his blood and body.
Hardwick filed his suit in 2018 against 3M Co., E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co., the Chemours Co., and others. The class includes any person subject to Ohio laws with at least 0.05 parts per trillion (ppt) PFOA and at least 0.05 ppt of any other PFAS in their blood serum.
The case is Hardwick v. 3M Co. et al., case number 2:18-cv-01185, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
Taft has been certified to represent the class as class counsel, alongside co-counsel from Douglas & London PC and Levin Papantonio Thomas Mitchell Rafferty & Proctor PA. The Taft team included litigators David Butler, Robert Bilott, Brian Morris, and Jonathan Olivito.
Butler is a partner and trial lawyer in Taft’s Columbus office. He has extensive experience in complex civil litigation, mass tort class actions and multi-district litigations. Bilott, a partner in Taft’s Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky offices, is a seasoned litigator who gained international prominence in connection with uncovering and disclosing the global impact of environmental contamination by PFAS, as recently depicted in the film "Dark Waters" and documentary "The Devil We Know."
Morris is a Cincinnati associate advising clients on contracts, business disputes, business torts, and other legal matters. Olivito is a Columbus associate who litigates business and partnership disputes and employment law matters. His clients have included governmental entities, businesses, and individuals.