“The Rockford shoemaker faces more than 100 lawsuits over contaminated water in northern Kent County.
Attorneys for Wolverine Worldwide will be in court Friday, asking that dozens of lawsuits filed over groundwater contamination linked to the Rockford-based shoemaker be dismissed.
Wolverine has been inundated with individual lawsuits and class action lawsuits filed in state and federal court over water contamination linked to chemicals Wolverine used to waterproof shoes.
‘We have clients that have really good homes in what were otherwise desirable neighborhoods and school systems, and they’re not able to sell their homes.’ said Grand Rapids attorney Aaron Phelps, who is representing clients in many of the lawsuits Wolverine wants dismissed.
Both sides will appear in Kent County Circuit Court on Friday to discuss the status of the lawsuits and a motion by Wolverine to have many dismissed.
In mid-October, Grand Rapids law firm Varnum LLP met with Rockford-area residents to discuss groundwater contamination, much of it linked to an old Wolverine dumpsite on House Street NE in Kent County’s Plainfield Township.
That meeting spurred more than 100 individual lawsuits against Wolverine. The individual lawsuits allege Wolverine broke state law by dumping “sludge, liquid and barrels containing hazardous tannery waste” in Belmont for decades. They argue that lead to diminished property values and adverse health effects.
Attorneys from Varnum and Wolverine are meeting in Kent County Circuit Court to discuss the status of the cases, notably whether they will move forward or be delayed.
Wolverine asked for the delay while a class action lawsuit works its way through federal court. It was filed against Wolverine on Dec. 5, 2017 by a group of national law firms...
Wolverine told WZZM 13 many of Varnum’s claims are ‘misleading and not supported by facts.’ In a document pushing for a stay of the cases, the company said the individual cases and the proposed class action suit are ‘sufficiently the same’…
Varnum said the individuals cases are important because each resident is affected differently. Many of their clients’ homes came back with PFAS below 70 ppt, while one home tested around 38,000 ppt.
Wolverine has installed hundreds of whole-house filters in homes with PFAS detections, but recently limited its offer to homes testing above the EPA limit. Varnum said it’s only a short-term solution.”
Read the full article by Noah Fromson.