“GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Wolverine World Wide can blame Scotchgard-maker 3M for potential damages caused to some Kent County residents whose drinking water was polluted with toxic chemicals, a judge ruled Tuesday.

The ruling by Kent County Circuit Judge George J. Quist allows Wolverine to argue that 3M was at fault for any or all damages, lessening the burden of any potential payout to the more than 400 people suing the shoe giant…

Lawyers for the people can choose to sue 3M, not sue 3M or appeal the decision. The firm representing them, Varnum Law in Grand Rapids, opposed the ruling, saying it was Wolverine that caused the contamination, not 3M.

Aaron Phelps, an attorney with Varnum Law, said they haven’t decided a next course of action yet.

If Varnum lawyers choose to add 3M as a defendant with Wolverine, the people would collect all potential damages awarded by a jury. If Varnum lawyers don’t, any damages assigned to 3M would not be collected.

Phelps said he doesn’t expect adding 3M to the lawsuits will drag out the case.

Wolverine alleges 3M failed to warn about the potential health and environmental dangers of its waterproofing Scotchgard product used in Wolverine shoe manufacturing.

For years, the key ingredient of 3M Scotchgard was perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, or PFOS. That’s one of several per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, found in the drinking water of homes where Wolverine dumped tannery waste laden with the chemical leftovers of Scotchgard use…

In federal court, Wolverine, 3M and Waste Management are defendants in a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of residents affected by toxic dumping in Kent County. Other class action suits have also been filed against Wolverine.”

Read the full article by Michael Kransz