Tyco's $750 Million Settlement

Tyco Fire Products LP, a subsidiary of Johnson Controls International PLC, has reached a significant agreement to settle allegations linked to their products’ association with PFAS contamination in U.S. public water systems. The company has agreed to a $750 million settlement to resolve these claims, part of a larger trend of legal actions addressing the pervasive issue of “forever chemicals” in the environment.

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, have become a focal point of environmental litigation due to their resilience in both the human body and the natural world, leading to over $11 billion in settlements in 2023 alone. This includes a substantial $10.3 billion settlement by 3M last year to address water pollution claims.

The settlement, which releases claims against Tyco, Chemguard, Inc., and related entities, forms part of a multi-district litigation (MDL) overseen by the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina. Under the agreement’s terms, Tyco will initially contribute $250 million by May 25, 2024, with the remaining $500 million due six months post-preliminary court approval, expected around mid-May.

This agreement coincides with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s first federal regulations on PFAS in drinking water, reflecting a significant stride towards stricter environmental protections. Tyco’s insurance is anticipated to cover a substantial portion of the settlement payment, though the amount and timing of such recoveries remain uncertain.

The public water systems included in the settlement are broad in scope, encompassing any system that had detected PFAS by May 15, 2024, with specific exclusions outlined. Notably, the agreement does not encompass claims of systems that opt out, detect PFAS after the May deadline, or pertain to issues beyond drinking water contamination.

While this settlement marks progress, several procedural steps remain before it is finalized, including MDL Court approval. Moreover, the settlement does not address other ongoing cases in the AFFF MDL, such as personal injury, property damage, or claims by state attorneys general.

The Ferraro Law Firm, known for its extensive experience in environmental litigation, is actively representing cities and counties in similar PFAS cases. The firm’s attorneys, well-versed in the nuanced and demanding nature of environmental lawsuits, stand at the ready to assist further clients affected by PFAS contamination and seek the justice and remediation they deserve.