Residents of the city of Parchment, Michigan, just won a class-action lawsuit over a PFAS lawsuit that was filed back in 2018.
An $11.9 million settlement was recently announced over a lawsuit filed by residents of Parchment that claimed “PFAS contamination impacted municipal drinking water.” The suit was filed by Liddle & Dubin PC, a law firm, on behalf of plaintiff David Dykehouse as a proposed class-action lawsuit.
When commenting on the settlement, Georgia-Pacific Spokesman Rick Kimble said:
“Through the agreement, 3M and Georgia-Pacific will contribute a total of $11.9 million to resolve the plaintiffs’ claims on behalf of the proposed class…The parties worked collaboratively to reach this mutually acceptable agreement without resorting to further lengthy and expensive litigation.”
3M sent a similar statement, and according to Kimble, the agreement is subject to court approval.
The water crisis at the center of the suit came to life in July 2018. At the time, tests revealed that “PFAS levels in Parchment’s water system and some wells in Cooper Township were 20 times higher than what is considered safe by the Environmental Protection Agency.” Residents were notified and given bottled water “while work was done to transfer the city into Kalamazoo’s water system.”
As a result, a lawsuit was filed in the Western District of U.S. District Court in November 2018. It claimed that “polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) had migrated from a nearby former paper mill and its associated facilities into Parchment’s municipal water system, which supplied water to Dykehouse and the rest of the lawsuit’s proposed class.”
The federal complaint sought monetary damages for “property damage, diminished property value, stigma damages, interference with use and enjoyment of property, noneconomic damages, exposure to PFAS and medical monitoring.”
So who was included in the suit? Who are the plaintiffs that stand to benefit from the settlement? For starters, the settlement class includes anyone who “owned, leased, rented or resided in homes or residential properties serviced by the Parchment water system as of July 26, 2018, but have not brought individual actions for personal injury or illness based on exposure to PFAS in the municipal water.”
For now, money will be placed into a fund that will be used to “pay those who had property interests and/or resided in homes serviced by Parchment’s municipal water system on the date contamination was discovered.” Known class members are being contacted, and claim forms will be “sent to all available postal addresses.” Additionally, advertisements will run in newspapers around the state of Michigan to help notify anyone who may be impacted by the settlement. On top of that, the firm will “create a website and a toll-free number to inform those involved of deadlines and other information.”
Once claims are submitted, checks will be issued to class members once they are approved.