Alaska Points Blame For PFAS Pollution to Companies in Lawsuit Removed to Federal Court

A group of three environmental lawsuits regarding PFAS were removed from the Alaska state Superior Court to the District of Alaska on Monday by some of the defendants, 3M Company, Tyco Fire Products LP and Chemguard Inc.

Initially, there were two lawsuits filed by individuals, Barbara Gaston, James Saracco, and Lisa Etherington, against Alaska. Alaska also filed its own lawsuit and filed as a third-party plaintiff in the other lawsuit with claims against companies it claimed were responsible for the chemical pollutants including 3M Company, E.I. Dupont de Nemours and Company, The Chemours Company, Corteva Inc., BASF Corporation, and many others. 

Reportedly, Alaska claimed that the third-party defendants should be liable because they designed, manufactured, and sold aqueous film-forming foams which were used by the State of Alaska and caused the property of the initial plaintiffs to become contaminated with PFAS. 

Alaska alleged in its claims that the chemical presents “a significant threat to the State’s natural resources, properties, and residents.” The state noted that they travel through the environment and can be toxic even in small amounts, and alleged that the defendants did not provide sufficient warnings. 

Tyco and Chemguard claimed that they are “immune to tort liability for their design and manufacture,” citing that the civilian airports were required to stock the foam products and that they provided the required product warnings under the federal approvals. They also claimed they “are entitled” to having the case heard in the federal court because a federal statute regarding the products’ use is at issue. 

Alaska’s third-party complaint in the two other lawsuits was reportedly filed on April 7, but Tyco and Chemguard alleged they had not yet been served. They also claimed that all requirements for removal had been met. 

Tyco Fire Products and Chemguard are represented by Lane Powell LLC, 3M is represented by Stoel Rives LLP, Alaska is represented by its attorney general office and Birch Horton Bittner & Cherot, the individual plaintiffs are represented by Flanigan & Bataille.