Can You File an Injury Claim for Environmental Damage?

In Minnesota, the answer is yes. Exposure to toxic substances and other hazardous materials in your environment can be reason to file a claim. Environmental injuries can arise from housing, workplace, land, and the natural environment.

Minnesota Versus 3M

One of the biggest environmental lawsuits in the United States took place in Minnesota in February 2018. The case, Minnesota vs. 3M, alleged that environmental damages resulted from the company’s decades-long dumping of pollutants. Documents supporting the case claim the company disposed of chemicals used to make Scotchgard fabric protector, which resulted in increased cancer rates in Washington County.

A Long History of Pollutants

From 1940 to 2002, 3M manufactured perfluorochemicals (PFCs) to produce Scotchgard, fire-fighting foam, and nonstick cookware. In 2004, trace elements of the chemical were discovered in the waterways of Washington County. By early 2018, company spending to clean up the county’s water supply was more than $100 million. Unfortunately, there were already widespread problems caused by the chemical.

The state’s attorney general conducted a study of the environmental damage, which found a statistically significant increase in bladder, kidney, breast, and prostate cancers. A separate study by Dr. David Sunding, professor at the University of California Berkeley, also found a significant increase in the probability of children’s death from cancer or cancer-related disease in the city of Oakdale. As 3M began to clean up the environmental damage and better filter the county’s water source, these rates dropped, showing a direct correlation.

Case Details

The company denies allegations that its chemicals have any adverse effects on humans or animals. Once 3M began to clean up its pollutants, the state alleged the company had previously researched PFCs and knew the chemicals posed a risk to the population. The company claims that when it released the chemicals, its actions were legal. Minnesota officials tried to convince the jury that 3M should pay the state $5 billion to help clean up the damage to the environment, and the case was eventually settled for $850 million.

A Landmark Case

The 3M case brought attention to concerns about PFC dangers. The Environmental Protection Agency has adjusted the recommended maximum levels allowable in US drinking water since studies from the case have shown PFC’s ill effects. The case could have long-lasting and permanent effects on the laws surrounding PFC-use. Unfortunately, for the victims of the environmental damage, the ruling will come too late.

Environmental Damage Injury Claims

Historically, common cases for environmental damage injury claims included water contamination, air pollution, toxic mold, asbestos, and lead paint. If you have been the victim of personal injury due to environmental toxins, there may already be a class action lawsuit unfolding. If there is not, contact us immediately to review your claim. We have years of experience with claims and will help evaluate your case. Together, we will review medical records, EPA documents, and public health and safety reports to determine your best interests in pursuing a case. Our attorneys are here for you and will be here for you every step of the way.