W&L Files First Personal Injury Suit over Water Contamination in Hoosick Falls

Weitz & Luxenberg today filed the first personal injury suit resulting from water pollution in Hoosick Falls, NY, on behalf of plaintiff James Donavan. The complaint states that exposure to Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) has directly caused Donavan’s ulcerative colitis and other illnesses, which is consistent with findings from the C8 Panel that expressly linked ulcerative colitis with human exposure to PFOA.

The lawsuit also alleges that:

  • The defendants had a duty to ensure their manufacturing processes did not unreasonably endanger drinking water, but breached this duty when they disposed PFOA “in a manner that guaranteed that PFOA would enter the environment, including the groundwater.”
  • Saint Gobain and Honeywell either knew or should have known that this disposal of PFOA “posed a threat of significant danger to the environment and to the health and well-being” of Hoosick Falls residents.
  • Donavan’s home has significantly declined in value due to the discovery of PFOA in Hoosick Falls and the designation of the local area as a State Superfund site.

Donavan is seeking damages to cover the medical costs and pain and suffering associated with his illnesses and the decrease in the value of his property. The ulcerative colitis he has developed as a result of PFOA exposure gives Donavan an increased probability of developing colon cancer, which is why the complaint also calls for the adoption of a medical monitoring program as an additional remedy.

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