Attorney Tate Kunkle Files Water Contamination Lawsuits

Napoli Shkolnik PLLC filed three class action lawsuits in Orange County Supreme Court a little more than a year after the residents of the City of Newburgh learned they had been exposed to toxic concentrations of a fire fighting foam constituent called perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (“PFOS”).

“Everyone has a right to clean water and it’s time that those responsible be held accountable,” says Tate J. Kunkle, who recently filed the complaint on behalf of Newburgh residents who drank the contaminated water.

PFOS can cause an increased risk of several health effects, including effects on the liver, the immune system, high cholesterol levels, increased risk of high blood pressure, changes in thyroid hormone, ulcerative colitis, pre-eclampsia, and kidney and testicular cancer.

Despite multiple investigations having determined that the PFOS came from the Stewart International Airport and Air National Guard Base, those responsible have refused to come forward to help the City’s residents. It became clear to many local residents and prominent members of the community that legal help was needed.

“It is a sad state of affairs when Fortune 500 companies and governmental entities systematically poison a city of 30,000 people here in the United States, and then bury their head in the sand hoping the problem just disappears,” said Mr. Kunkle.

The lawsuits seek to recover for personal injuries, property damage, and future medical monitoring from the chemical manufacturers, The 3M Co. and Tyco Fire Products L.P., and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, who currently operates the Stewart International Airport.

We strongly encourage Newburgh residents to take advantage of the free blood testing being offered by The New York State Health Department. The results will show the level of PFOS in your blood  but not if your health has been affected.

Napoli Shkolnik PLLC partner Hunter J. Shkolnik was recently appointed as Plaintiffs’ Co-Liaison Counsel in the Flint Water Crisis Litigation, and the firm is also handling several other cases involving people’s exposure to the line of chemicals known as poly-fluoroalkyl substances (sometimes called “PFAS”), including perfluorooctanoic acid (“PFOA”).  These matters include representing individuals in the Village of Hoosick Falls, NY, Merrimack, NH, Colorado Springs, CO, and the Willow Grove Air Base in Horsham, PA.

If you live or know anyone who lives in these cities or towns or have noticed health issues affecting your family and/or friends, it is important to speak with a doctor and a Napoli Shkolnik PLLC attorney. The consultation is free and there is no obligation. We do not receive any money unless we win your case.


The Times Herald-Record online reported on Napoli Shkolnik’s filing and noted that a likely source of the Newburgh, NY water contamination could be firefighting foam that had been used to extinguish a FedEx plane that had burst into flames after an emergency landing at Stewart International Airport.

The New York Law Journal published an Op-Ed written by our firm, entitled The Emerging Crisis of PFAS Exposure.