Originally posted on WMUR News 9 by Kristen Carosa on November 15, 2017.
A class-action lawsuit against Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics over a chemical found in drinking water is moving forward to trial.
The lawsuit was filed by 25 people who said they were exposed to the chemical perfluorooctanoic acid, which was found in groundwater in Merrimack and nearby areas. Attorneys for Saint-Gobain asked for the complaint to be dismissed Wednesday, but the judge refused.
Saint-Gobain disclosed in February 2016 that PFOA was found in water samples from taps at its Merrimack facility. The chemical is a compound that repels oil, grease and water that was widely used by many companies to make a variety of products, including plastics.
After the first tests, PFOA was found in the groundwater in Merrimack and surrounding areas, according to court documents. The plaintiffs in the case have filed 11 complaints since that time, accusing Saint-Gobain of causing PFOA to enter the groundwater, soil and air.
Attorneys representing Saint-Gobain said that the plaintiffs cannot point to a current physical injury to either person or property. The attorneys also said that the people filing the complaint “cannot support a suit now for a supposed risk of a future injury from PFOA exposure.”
But attorneys representing the plaintiffs argued that the allegations against Saint-Gobain are specific. They said the fact that the plaintiffs were exposed to the compound is an injury in itself. They also said the plaintiffs’ properties were injured in that the property values have decreased because of the PFOA contamination.
The attorneys said they also want Saint-Gobain to provide medical monitoring for the plaintiffs.
The judge decided that a jury trial will move forward. It’s scheduled to begin September 2019.