3M Reaches $99M Settlement to Resolve PFAS Litigation in AL

Libby Vish, Esq. | VP, Business Development


On October 19, 2021, 3M announced a settlement of nearly $99 million with plaintiffs alleging contamination of the Tennessee River. The claims were filed in federal court in the Northern District of Alabama and state court in the Circuit Court of Morgan County, Alabama.

The plaintiffs encompass multiple groups, including the Tennessee Riverkeeper, an environmental group and local residents. Plaintiffs allege that a 3M manufacturing plant was dumping waste containing cancer-causing chemicals polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, into the Tennessee River in Alabama.

PFAS are a byproduct of “non-stick” materials that are used in cleaning products and other household goods which can contaminate surface and groundwater. PFAS have been associated with multiple adverse health effects, including, but not limited to, high cholesterol, cancer and thyroid diseases. There is no known breakdown of PFAS over time, contributing to the nickname “forever chemicals.”

This settlement ends a five-year litigation between the parties. The proceeds of the settlement will be used to fund community redevelopment and remediation efforts.

The case is Tennessee Riverkeeper Inc. v. 3M Co. et al., case number 5:16-cv-01029, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Northeastern Division.

The state court class action is St. John, et al. v. 3M Company, et al., case number cv-2002-408, in the Circuit Court of Morgan County, Alabama.

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