Perfluorooctanoic acid is an odorless and colorless chemical that’s used in Teflon, Scotchgard, and other similar consumer products, like the ones turned out at the large Saint Gobain Performance Plastics facility in Merrimack. Because of its dangers, most manufactures had stopped using PFOA by the mid-2000s. But by that time, the water supply around plants that used this chemical had already been poisoned. Initial tests in New Hampshire indicated that PFOA levels exceeded 1,000ppt, which is more than twice as high as the Environmental Protection Agency’s safe exposure level.
In 2016, Saint Gobain largely reneged on earlier promises to clean up the water in Manchester, Bedford, Londonderry, and other affected areas. When companies ignore their commitments to keep our environment healthy, the tenacious lawyers at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC go to work. We meticulously build a winning claim for damages that’s based on solid evidence and scientific facts. Then, we do not rest until the chemical company cries “uncle,” ensuring that victims get the compensation they deserve for their injuries and that the drinking water is purified for future generations.
The Dangers of PFOA
In a nutshell, PFOA and other C8 chemicals change the molecular properties of some substances, making easily soiled carpet stain-resistant, and so on. PFOA basically does the same thing in a person’s body after it seeps into the groundwater and works its way into the cooking and drinking water. Since PFOA often collects in breastmilk, infants and children are seriously at risk for future illnesses, including:
- Testicular cancer,
- Thyroid disease,
- Kidney cancer,
- Weak immune system,
- Liver disease,
- High cholesterol, and
- Ulcerative colitis.
Several international organizations have designated PFOA as one of the leading cancer-causing agents polluting our groundwater.
Your Claim for Damages
Negligence cases that involve environmental contamination have three basic elements:
- A chemical or other company’s emissions or dumping released a chemical into the environment,
- That chemical is dangerous, and
- The victim suffered injury.
In many cases, it is difficult to establish the first prong, because companies almost always deny responsibility and then engage in delay tactics. However, with regard to New Hampshire PFO contamination, Saint Gobain has already acknowledged responsibility.
The third prong is also easy to establish in this particular case. If a doctor diagnosed a victim with a certain illness, even if the doctor said nothing about PFOA poisoning, the injury is probably compensable under current law.
That leaves only the second prong, and there is ample evidence that PFOA causes serious health problems. Furthermore, since the proceedings take place in civil court, victims only need to prove this element by a preponderance of the evidence, which means “more likely than not.”
The two types of damages available in environmental contamination cases illustrate the two reasons why we file these cases in Vermont and elsewhere.
Special damages are unique to the victim’s injury. They include money for economic losses, such as medical expenses, and noneconomic losses, such as emotional distress. Since many PFOA contamination cases involve cancer, special damages are usually significant to give victims the financial resources they need to either fight the disease or partially assuage their grief over a wrongful death.
Punitive damages are usually available in these cases as well. To obtain additional damages, the plaintiff must establish, by clear and convincing evidence, that the defendant recklessly pursued a course of conduct which put the safety and property of other people in jeopardy. A damage cap may apply, in some situations.
Your claim for damages following PFOA contamination needs your prompt attention, because you have a limited amount of time to act. For a free consultation with an aggressive personal injury attorney in New York, contact Napoli Shkolnik PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees in negligence cases.
NEW HAMPSHIRE RESOURCES
- NH Investigation FAQs
- New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Perfluorochemical (PFC) Fact Sheet
CALL NAPOLI SHKOLNIK PLLC TODAY!