By Conrad Dudderar
Yukon’s elected municipal leaders have retained an Oklahoma City law firm to represent the city in a class action lawsuit over drinking water contamination.
The City of Yukon is joining the national Aqueous Film-Forming Foams (AFFF) products liability litigation against the chemical manufacturer 3M Company, the Dupont Company and other defendants.
In June, 3M agreed to pay between $10.5 billion and $12.5 billion to settle lawsuits over the contamination of drinking water systems across the United States with harmful pre- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
PFAS are used in many products, including foam used in firefighting.
Yukon is among municipalities nationwide participating in the proposed lawsuit settlement, although it is not known whether any Yukon residents were directly affected by the water contamination.
“It’s happened everywhere, and we can get in on the class action suit,” Yukon Mayor Shelli Selby said. “Then, hopefully, use (settlement) money to remedy that.”
The Yukon City Council met in executive session at its Oct. 17th meeting to hold confidential communications with city attorney Roger Rinehart about pending and ongoing litigation – including this class action suit.
After reconvening in open session, council members voted 5-0 to retain the McAfee & Taft “to represent the interests of the City of Yukon” in the PFAS contamination litigation.
DRINKING WATER SAFETY
Under the 3M settlement agreement, water providers will receive compensation to help fund water testing and infrastructure to immediately clean up drinking water supplies and fund ongoing maintenance to ensure drinking water safety. The settlement will be paid out over 13 years.
The AFFF products liability class action lawsuit – filed in the U.S. District Court, District of South Carolina – is comprised of about 500 pending cases, according to court documents. Other cases are expected to be filed or transferred to this court in coming months.
Plaintiffs allege the AFFFs containing the harmful PFAS contaminated groundwater near military bases, airports and other industrial sites where AFFFs were used to extinguish liquid fuel fires.
Plaintiffs allege this caused personal injury, a need for medical monitoring, property damage, and economic losses.
The proposed public water system lawsuit settlement is still subject to final approval by U.S. District Court Judge Richard M. Gergel.