SETTLEMENT UPDATE: Hoosick Falls’s Citizens Score Legal Victory As Chemical Companies Agree To A $65 Million Settlement Agreement
Honeywell, 3M, and Saint-Gobain have agreed to pay $65 million to push through with a settlement agreement with the residents of Hoosick Falls in New York in a bid to resolve the legal proceedings alleging the trio of chemically contaminating the drinking water sources in the town.
In Re: Hoosick Falls PFOA Cases
Lead Plaintiff Michele Baker’s Settlement Victory
The settlement agreement originated from a class action lawsuit filed by people living in Hoosick Falls, led by Michele Baker, contending that the three companies dumped harmful wastes that contained dangerous chemicals in the town’s water facility.
They argued that the companies used foams that have perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in them. The PFOA chemicals then ended up traveling and reaching Hoosick Falls’s drinking water supply.
PFOA is known to cause many illnesses, including reproductive system issues, select liver and kidney cancers, and adverse developmental and immunological conditions.
The class action lawsuit accused Honeywell and Saint-Gobain responsible for handling and processing the dangerous PFOA chemicals, while DuPont de Nemours & Co. and 3M were pinpointed as the companies behind the making of the substance.
Hoosick Falls town hosted a water facility structure on McCaffrey Street where the purportedly harmful PFOA chemicals were handled and processed under the townspeople’s noses. The substances ended up leaking into the town’s air and underground water reserves, affecting the surrounding individuals.
Only three of them have agreed to enter into a settlement agreement to end the legal charges pressed against them. DuPont ended up not participating in the settlement terms and proceedings.
Individuals Included in the Hoosick Settlement
If you drank water from the Village of Hoosick Falls Municipal Water System or a privately owned well in the Village of Hoosick Falls or the Town of Hoosick — or if you owned or rented property in the said locations — you may be eligible to receive benefits from this class action settlement.
The settlement class is made up of four groups:
Medical Monitoring Settlement Class Members: Includes anyone who consumed water supplied by the Village Municipal Water System or a privately owned well in the village of Hoosick Falls or town of Hoosick that contained PFOA for at least six months between 1996 and 2016, and who had blood serum tests that revealed a PFOA level in their blood greater than 1.86 µg/L. Additionally, this Class covers any natural child born to a woman who met and/or matched the foregoing criterion at the time of the child’s birth and whose blood serum was tested following birth and revealed a PFOA level greater than 1.86 µg/L.
Municipal Water Property Settlement Class Members: Those who are or were owners of Residential Property supplied by the Village Municipal Water System, who purchased the property before or on December 16, 2015, and remained to own it as of December 16, 2015.
Nuisance Settlement Class Members: Consists of residents of Hoosick Falls who were either owners or renters, and who had water from a private well with PFOA detected in it, and who had their water treated by a point-of-entry treatment (POET) system and who owned and inhabited the property at the time of PFOA detection through a water test that was done on or after December 16, 2015; or anyone who rented and occupied property at the time when PFOA in the property’s private well was found through a water test on or after that date is included.
Private Well Water Property Settlement Class Members: People who are or were owners of Residential Property situated in the Village of Hoosick Falls that received drinking water from a private well where PFOA was detected, and who owned that property on or after December 16, 2015, when PFOA was detected in the property’s private well via a water test.
Certain parties are excluded from the settlement, including those who previously filed a claim alleging a PFOA-related illness or injury against any of the settling defendants. Additional information about exclusions is accessible on the settlement website’s FAQ page.
In the Hoosick Falls water pollution action, plaintiffs alleged that Saint-Gobain, 3M, and Honeywell tainted the groundwater beneath the town with PFOA through environmental releases, causing residents to inadvertently ingest drinking water with hazardous PFOA levels.
PFOA compounds are well-known for their persistence in the body and environment and may cause developmental and reproductive difficulties, as well as cancer and immunological consequences.
Settlement Fund Amount and Distribution
After attorney fees and other costs are removed from the $65.25 million settlement fund, the remaining amount will be distributed among the class groups.
The payment to each member of the Property Settlement Class will be calculated by multiplying the market value of each eligible property by $20.7 million — the sum allotted to this Class — and then dividing by the total market value of all eligible properties.
The payout amounts for Nuisance Class Members will be determined by dividing the overall number of eligible Nuisance Class claims by the $7,761,683 Nuisance Class allotment. These funds will be dispersed evenly among all eligible Nuisance Class Members.
Medical monitoring program funds will be used to cover medical monitoring-related expenses, such as physician and laboratory payments. The program will commence when the settlement becomes official and will conclude when either the $22.8 million Medical Monitoring Allocation is exhausted or all bills acquired on or before the 10-year anniversary of the settlement becoming final are paid, whichever comes first.
Medical Monitoring Class Members who undertake the Initial Diagnostic Survey and Initial Screening Consultation within 12 months of the settlement’s effective date will receive a $100 reimbursement.
Suppose funds remain in the allocation after the program. In this case, Class Members who have utilized all available services may receive an additional payment, or the funds can be donated to a non-profit organization (NPO) that is dedicated to the health and well-being of Hoosick area residents.
- On February 2, 2022, a final approval hearing for the settlement will be held.
- The deadline to opt-out or to object is December 9, 2021.
- Claimants must submit their claims by January 24, 2022.
About The Defendants
Companies Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., 3M, DuPont de Nemours & Co., and Honeywell are the main defendants in this case.
Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp. is an Akron, Ohio-based company under its parent company Saint-Gobain. The company was founded in 1957.
3M, meanwhile, is a conglomerate business entity that has a presence in the fields of consumer goods, workers’ safety items, and the like. Mike Roman heads 3M as their CEO and top official since mid-2018.
Honeywell International Inc., or simply called Honeywell in this article, is a company that provides safety and productivity solution products to their clients. The company was founded by Mark C. Honeywell. It is traded in Nasdaq.
Lastly, DuPont de Nemours & Co. is said to be the largest chemical company in the globe with its sales and market performance. DuPont was founded a few years before the 20th century commenced. Company revenues were recorded to be at almost $22 billion in the year 2019.
Editor’s Note on Hoosick Falls Settlement 2021:
This article is written to inform you of the class action settlement between Saint-Gobain, Honeywell, 3M, and the residents of Hoosick over PFOA water contamination.
Case Name & No.: Michele Baker, et al. v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., et al., Case No. 1:16-CV-00917-LEK-DJS
Jurisdiction: U.S. District Court – Northern District Of New York
Products/Services: PFOA Water contamination
Allegations: The defendants allegedly conducted environmental release of PFOA to the groundwater in Hoosick
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