Saint-Gobain Water Contamination Lawsuit – Litchfield/Merrimack NH Attorneys
You may have read Saint-Gobain and the State of New Hampshire have entered into a “Consent Decree.” A Consent Decree is an agreement with the state to settle or resolve claims the state has against Saint-Gobain. As the NHDES representative stated at the public meeting announcing the agreement, the settlement is only for claims the State has against Saint-Gobain and does not affect any property owner’s private claims against Saint-Gobain. For example, the agreement identifies the homes that Saint-Gobain will connect to water lines and the few that will be connected to point of use filters and ongoing testing and remediation of the contamination at Saint-Gobain. It does not address the cost of water, loss of use, the nuisance and trespass claims, effect on property values or medical monitoring. None of the claims in our case are reduced by the agreement. View the Consent Decree here.
Our case against Saint-Gobain has a current trial date of October 2020. Beginning in June, the court will start the process of determining whether the case will go forward as a class action. We will continue to provide our clients updates on the progress of the case.
Saint-Gobain water contamination affecting the Litchfield/Merrimack community
About the Contamination
The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) tested the water wells surrounding the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics plant in Merrimack, NH. Contaminated wells were found in Litchfield, Bedford, Merrimack, and Manchester, NH. It was found that a number of the drinking wells contain more than 70 parts per trillion (ppt) of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). The NHDES has deemed these levels unsafe for consumption. PFOA is known to stay in the human body for a very long time, as humans are not able to break down the chemical.
Studies in lab animals have found exposure to PFOA increases the risk of certain tumors of the liver, testicles, mammary glands (breasts), and pancreas in these animals. In general, well-conducted studies in animals do a good job of predicting which exposures cause cancer in people. Long-term side effects are currently unknown, but there is a strong case that PFOA is linked to certain cancers.
Property Damage Claims from Having PFOA in Your Water
If your water supply has been contamination by chemicals, solvents, oils or other hazardous waste, you have a right to file a claim against the responsible party for damages to your property. Claims for relief can include trespass, nuisance, negligence and for violations of state and federal law dealing with the handling, storage and transportation of chemicals and hazardous materials. Strict liability can also be imposed if the activity of the polluter is unduly dangerous.
Contaminated or polluted wells can be devastating to you and your family. Not only can it result in significant loss of value of your property, but other damages include the cost of remediation or clean up, well or water source replacement, loss of use and enjoyment of your home, annoyance and discomfort. If physical injuries are caused by water contamination or pollution, damages can be awarded for pain and suffering, emotional distress and upset, medical bills, lost wages and expenses.
Even if your water test results are below the level of 70 parts per trillion established by the EPA, you may still have a claim for property damage and the trespass of chemicals on your property.
Contact Gottesman & Hollis
If your well is contaminated by PFOAs, contact one of our lawyers who can advise you of your rights and remedies. We can be reached by phone at (603) 889-5959, or by filling out the contact form above.
Lawsuit News – New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
For up-to-date news on the investigation into perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) found in New Hampshire drinking water, please visit the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services PFOA investigation page.