Lawsuit Claims Firefighting Foam Led To Liver Cancer, Transplant
A lawsuit was filed in South Carolina in August claiming that exposure to firefighting foam led to a Wisconsin firefighter’s liver cancer and need for liver transplant. The lawsuit names numerous firefighting foam manufacturers as defendants, including 3M and DuPont.
The complaint states that the firefighter was exposed to firefighting foam “throughout his long career” as a firefighter in Wisconsin. “As a result of his exposure” to firefighting foam, the man “was diagnosed with liver acinar-neuroendocrine carcinoma, which required [him] to undergo a liver transplant,” according to the lawsuit.
The man worked as a firefighter in Wisconsin from July 1977 until December 2006, conducting “routine trainings” using firefighting foam “throughout his long career,” according to the lawsuit. “At no point during his trainings or career did he receive any warning” that firefighting foam was toxic or carcinogenic, the complaint states.
The complaint seeks to recover damages based on strict products liability – failure to warn. The lawsuit states that firefighting foam manufacturers “knew or should have known that exposure to fluorochemical products presented a substantial danger when used because it is hazardous to human health.”
The complaint claims that firefighting foam makers “knew, or reasonably should have known” that their products were toxic and carcinogenic by the early 1980s. The lawsuit argues that firefighting foam makers should have warned the public that their products were toxic and carcinogenic, and failed to.
The lawsuit seeks to recover damages based on products liability – defective design. It states that the firefighting foam that the firefighter was exposed to “did not perform as safely as an ordinary consumer would have expected [it] to perform when used as plaintiff did in an intended or reasonably foreseeable manner” because it contained carcinogens which are otherwise harmful to human health.
The complaint notes that alternative designs and/or formulations of firefighting foam which could have prevented or reduced the risk of harm to users “were available, practical, and technologically feasible.”
The lawsuit states that firefighting foam products “were defectively designed and manufactured when the products left the hands of” firefighting foam manufacturers since the risks associated with the products exceeded the product’s benefits.
The complaint seeks to recover damages based on negligence, arguing that firefighting foam manufacturers owed a duty to exercise reasonable care in the labeling and warnings regarding firefighting foam and failed to uphold this duty.
The complaint seeks damages including compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorney fees and expert witness fees.