PFAS lawsuit survives government contractor’s first defense attempt

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On September 16, 2022, a district court judge denied a chemical company’s motion for summary judgment to dismiss a lawsuit against PFAS based on the defense of the common law federal contractor. . The government contractor defense is intended to protect the interests of the federal government by providing private contractors with certain liability protections for, in this case, manufacturing products for the government. In its motion for summary judgment, the chemical company argued primarily that because the products it created met certain military product standards set by the federal government, the company should not be held liable. The district court denied the petition based on several factual reasons, including finding that the government’s military product standards, to which the company’s products were manufactured, did not require the use of PFAS. In addition, the district court identified other factual issues related to the timing of the company’s disclosure of studies involving PFAS and health issues. Since the decision was on a motion for summary judgment, the chemical company can raise and refine this defense as the case progresses.

Both chemicals were used to make Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF), which was primarily used at airports and military bases across the United States.

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