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AFFF Firefighting Foam Settlements – What to Expect and When

New studies have shown that exposure to the chemicals in AFFF firefighting foam can cause various types of cancer. This has led to thousands of lawsuits by former firefighters or others who were frequently exposed to AFFF foam and subsequently diagnosed with prostate, kidney, pancreatic, or testicular cancer.

Every federal AFFF lawsuit has been consolidated into a class action MDL in federal court in South Carolina. There are currently around 3,400 cases pending in this firefighting foam class action. Many AFFF plaintiffs are wondering if and when they can expect any type of settlement offer. On this page, we will discuss the most likely settlement scenarios for the firefighting foam class action lawsuit and what to expect.

Have There Been any AFFF Firefighting Foam Settlements So Far?

There have not been any publicly reported settlements in any firefighting foam lawsuits involving claims by individual plaintiffs that exposure to AFFF caused cancer. Most mass tort class actions like this do not settle until there have been at least 1 or 2 test trials.

However, the AFFF MDL actually involves another group of cases involving claims by local governments alleging that chemicals in AFFF contaminated their drinking water systems. In June 2023, it was announced that 3M, DuPont and the rest of the defendants had brokered a global settlement deal that would resolve of these water contamination claims. That deal is being finalized in early 2024 which will push the attention to the AFFF wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits.

Once all of the dust clears, the focus will turn to the individual product liability cancer claims remaining in the MDL.

Are the Firefighting Foam Lawsuits Separate or a Class Action?

There are thousands of individual AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits that have been filed across the country. The AFFF lawsuits in the federal courts have been consolidated into an MDL (multi-district litigation), in the District of South Carolina (In re: Aqueous Film-Forming Foams (AFFF) Prod. Liab. Lit.MDL No. 2873).

An MDL is very similar to a traditional “class action” lawsuit. An MDL involves a large group of plaintiffs, but each one has a separately filed and pending lawsuit. All of these cases are grouped together for consolidated discovery.

Once the cases go through discovery, a handful of sample cases will be selected for jury trials. These test trials are referred to as “bellwether” trials, and they are intended to give both sides a sample of what to expect if all of the other cases went to trial. The results of the bellwether trials are generally used to facilitate a global settlement in which the defendants offer a large sum to settle all pending cases.

When Can You Expect a Global Settlement in the AFFF Class Action MDL?

It is difficult to say with any certainty when a global settlement deal could get finalized. Based on past experience with similar mass tort MDLs, however, the most likely time frame for a settlement is 4-6 months after the first round of bellwether test trials are completed.

In the AFFF firefighting foam MDL, the first bellwether rounds of bellwether trials were going to feature water contamination cases, and they were set to begin in June 2023. The next round of bellwether trials were going to feature occupational exposure / cancer cases, and they were tenatively set for 2024. Just before the first trial, however, a global settlement was reached in the water contamination cases.  At this point, it is not clear whether the timetable for the bellwether trials in the individual exposure cases will be moved up in light of the settlement.

Assuming that does not happen, the bellwether trials will presumably start in the middle of next year. That means that we probably won’t see any type of global settlement in these claims until the end of 2024 at the earliest, and most likely the beginning of 2025.

There is still a small possibility, however, that we could see a settlement sooner. The water contamination cases settled right before the first bellwether trial was set to begin. We could certainly see the same thing happen with the individual cancer cases, in which case a settlement could get announced in early summer of next year.

Who Are the Defendants in the AFFF Firefighting Foam Lawsuits?

A number of different companies manufactured AFFF firefighting foam products over the years, so there is a large group of defendants in the AFFF class action MDL. The biggest AFFF manufacturers, were 3M Co. and DuPont, and they are the considered the primary defendants in the class action.

How Much Will the Firefighting Foam Settlements Be?

The firefighting foam lawsuits will probably end in some type of global settlement in which the defendants set aside a large sum of money for a settlement fund. This money will then be paid out to individual plaintiffs to resolve their cases.

The amount of settlement money each plaintiff receives will be based on tier structure. Plaintiffs with the strongest cases and the most serious injuries will be ranked in the top settlement tiers and receive the biggest settlement payouts. Those plaintiffs with weaker claims and less serious injuries will be ranked in the lower settlement tiers and get less money.

The highest settlement tier cases in the AFFF litigation, top-tier plaintiffs will likely include those individuals with long-term occupational exposure AND diagnosis with the most dangerous types of cancer linked to the firefighting foam (pancreatic cancer or kidney cancer). Lower tier plaintiffs will be those with less serious types of cancer (testicular or prostate cancer) and/or those with more limited exposure to firefighting foam.

Our lawyers estimate that the top tier AFFF settlement payouts will be around $200,000 to $500,0000. Plaintiffs in the middle settlement tier could expect $150,000 to $300,000. The lowest settlement tier could get $20,000 to $75,000.

The trial value for individual AFFF lawsuits is much higher.  You would expect the average verdict to be in millions.

Who is Eligible to Bring a Firefighting Foam Lawsuit?

Our attorneys are currently accepting new AFFF firefighting foam cases from anyone who meets the following criteria:

  • Occupational exposure to AFFF (firefighting foam) for at least 1 year; and
  • Diagnosis with one of the following types of cancer: pancreatic, testicular, prostate, or kidney.

Contact Us About Your AFFF Firefighting Foam Lawsuit

If you meet these criteria contact us immediately to get your AFFF case filed as soon as possible. Call today at 800-553-8082.

Client Reviews
Client Reviews
They quite literally worked as hard as if not harder than the doctors to save our lives. Terry Waldron
Ron helped me find a clear path that ended with my foot healing and a settlement that was much more than I hope for. Aaron Johnson
Hopefully I won't need it again but if I do, I have definitely found my lawyer for life and I would definitely recommend this office to anyone! Bridget Stevens
The last case I referred to them settled for $1.2 million. John Selinger
I am so grateful that I was lucky to pick Miller & Zois. Maggie Lauer
The entire team from the intake Samantha to the lawyer himself (Ron Miller) has been really approachable. Suzette Allen
The case settled and I got a lot more money than I expected. Ron even fought to reduce how much I owed in medical bills so I could get an even larger settlement. Nchedo Idahosa