First Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Wolverine Worldwide and 3M Over Toxic Waste Dumping in Michigan
Complaint Alleges PFAS Chemicals from Scotchgard Contaminated Drinking Water in Kent County
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN (DEC. 5) — A national team of law firms today announced a new class action lawsuit against Wolverine WorldWide, 3M Corporation and Waste Management Inc. for dumping toxic waste and polluting groundwater in Belmont, Rockford and other areas in Kent County. This is the first environmental class action lawsuit filed against these companies, and it seeks immediate blood testing, monitoring, and damages for residents who have been harmed by the pollution.
Consumer advocate Erin Brockovich, who is working with the legal team and has championed the cause of PFAS victims in Kent County, said: “The scope of this contamination is alarming, and thousands in Kent County are now faced with unsafe drinking water and increased health risks. This lawsuit puts these corporations on notice that they will be held accountable for their actions and should make it clear to other corporate polluters that they can’t get away with poisoning our water.”
According to the complaint, which was filed by The Miller Law Firm, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, and Weitz & Luxenberg, footwear manufacturer Wolverine WorldWide dumped waste containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, from 3M’s Scotchgard product at more than 75 sites in Kent County. PFAS exposure has been linked to serious health problems, including cancer, thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, and developmental and reproductive problems.
Wolverine used Scotchgard to waterproof the leather in its shoes and boots beginning in the 1950s. The lawsuit alleges that Wolverine and 3M were aware of Scotchgard’s dangers to human health for decades, but covered up the truth until unrelated groundwater testing revealed the contamination in the summer and fall of 2017. Waste Management is alleged to have participated by transporting, dumping, and maintaining contaminated materials throughout the region.
Limited testing has revealed high levels of PFAS in the areas where the dumping occurred. The scope of the contamination has expanded greatly in recent months as authorities continue to investigate and residents come forward to identify new dump sites. Some residents have found PFAS in their wells beyond the current guidelines set by government agencies, and many residents have been warned not to drink water from their wells for the foreseeable future.
“It’s important to work as quickly as possible to identify the full scope of the contamination and force the companies to pay for the damage,” says Sharon Almonrode, Chair of the Class Action Group at The Miller Law Firm. “A class action is the best way to obtain a legal recovery that will benefit everyone who’s been harmed. Our team of attorneys has the commitment, experience, and resources to go toe-to-toe with these companies.”
Erin Brockovich will join the three law firms at a community meeting to explain next steps in the litigation and answer questions from residents. The evening meeting will be held the week of December 11, 2017 at a date and time to be announced shortly. Information will be available on the law firms’ websites where you can also find a copy of the complaint: www.millerlawpc.com, www.weitzlux.com and www.rgrdlaw.com.
The Miller Law Firm
The Miller Law Firm is Michigan’s pre-eminent class action law firm, obtaining billions of dollars in recoveries in cases involving complex issues, including consumer protection and fraud. It has successfully represented plaintiffs in class actions across the country.
Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd
Robbins Geller Rudoman & Dowd LLP, with 200 attorneys in 10 offices nationwide, represents consumers across the country in a variety of important and unprecedented class actions.The Firm’s attorneys have taken a leading role in many of the largest federal and state consumer fraud, environmental, human rights and public health cases throughout the United States.
Weitz & Luxenberg
Weitz & Luxenberg P.C. is among the nation's leading and most readily recognized personal injury and consumer protection law firms with offices in several cities around the country, including Detroit, MI. The firm’s numerous litigation areas include: mesothelioma, defective medicine and devices, environmental pollutants, products liability, consumer protection, accidents, personal injury, and medical malpractice.