Law Seminars International Presents:

A Timely Conference Featuring Nationally-Renowned Experts on

PFAS Litigation in the Midwest

Evolving regulations, forensic techniques, theories of liability, lines of defense, damage calculations, and remediation approaches

October 8 & 9, 2020
Virtual Via Interactive Zoom Broadcast

To keep everyone safe, this program will be an interactive virtual event.
Call (206) 567-4490 if you have questions about our Zoom platform.

October 8 & 9, 2020

Regrettably, we've had to cancel this program

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Program Overview

Who Will Benefit from Attending

Litigation and environmental attorneys and consultants embroiled in the rapidly growing area of PFAS litigation, legal and technical water practitioners, land use planners, and other environmental professionals

Why You will Benefit from Attending

This comprehensive two-day conference focuses on PFAS litigation involving industrial and other sites in the Midwest. PFAS chemicals do not break down in the environment, have adverse health effects, and have been estimated to be present in the bodies of 99% of the U.S. population. As a result, cities and states, as well as the US EPA, have begun to issue guidance and, in some cases, maximum contaminant levels (MCLs), surface water quality standards, and groundwater quality standards for PFAS.

We have assembled a group of distinguished experts to help you most effectively participate in litigation arising from PFAS contamination. You'll hear from experts on the chemistry, sources, persistency in the environment, and resulting health impacts, with an eye towards building the best possible record.

On the legal side, we'll discuss regulatory responses, liability theories and defenses, special issues for cases involving federal facilities, and the commonalities and differences in cases involving industrial sites in the Midwest. This will include a social scientist on the most effective way to communicate complex environmental evidence and arguments to a judge or jury.

We'll wrap up with a session on future business transactions as PFAS contaminated properties change ownership or business operations. We hope you'll join us for what promises to be a lively discussion and for the virtual reception at the end of the first day.

~ Charles M. Denton, II, Esq. of Barnes & Thornburg and Aaron M. Phelps, Esq. of Varnum LLP, Program Co-Chairs

What You Will Learn

  • The chemistry, occurrence, and toxicity of PFAS
  • PFAS and hazardous materials cleanup laws
  • Regulatory developments relating to PFAS contamination
  • State enforcement efforts against federal facilities
  • Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) Multi-District Litigation
  • Industrial site cases in the Midwest
  • PFAS fate and transport, source forensics, and treatment
  • Practical tips for approaching PFAS cases
  • Environmental due diligence and continuing (Due Care) obligations
  • Insurance options and issues unique to PFAS substances

What Participants Have Said About Similar Programs

  • Great conference!
  • Very well managed
  • Once again you guys pulled off an amazing seminar!! Thank you.

Agenda Day 1

8:30 am

Registration Opens

9:00 am

Introduction & Overview

Charles M. Denton, II, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Barnes & Thornburg / Grand Rapids, MI

Aaron M. Phelps, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Varnum / Grand Rapids, MI

9:15 am

Understanding the Chemistry, Occurrence and Toxicity of PFAS

Background, nomenclature, sources, and unique characteristics of PFAS compounds

Mark Benotti, Ph.D. , Environmental Chemist
NewFields / Rockland, MA

Identifying specific PFAS chemical compounds, their toxicity and persistency characteristics, and health impacts

Jamie C. DeWitt, Ph.D. , Environmental Toxicologist
East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine / Greenville, NC

10:30 am


10:45 am

PFAS and Hazardous Materials Cleanup Laws

CERCLA designations and NRD claims as potential game changers: How designation as a CERCLA hazardous substance may affect the universe of potentially responsible parties, investigations, and the remediation process; impact of NRD Trustees filing claims

Charles M. Denton, II, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Barnes & Thornburg / Grand Rapids, MI

Jaana Pietari, Ph.D., P.E. , Senior Managing Consultant
Ramboll / Westford, MA

12:00 pm

Lunch (on your own)

1:15 pm

Regulatory Developments Relating to PFAS Contamination

Federal EPA: Safe Drinking Water Act enforcement and EPA's Third Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule; EPA Health Advisories for PFOA and PFOS; EPA draft interim recommendations for addressing PFOA and PFOS groundwater contamination; related litigation

Russell A. Rasmussen , Special Adviser on Water (inv)
EPA Region 5 / Chicago, IL

Jeffrey S. Longsworth, Esq.
Barnes & Thornburg / Washington, DC

State responses to the slow pace of the Federal response: Case study of Michigan's PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) and unique multi-agency approach

Steve Sliver , Director
Michigan PFAS Action Response Team / Lansing, MI

3:00 pm


3:15 pm

PFAS Litigation Updates

State enforcement efforts against federal facilities: The State of New Mexico vs. Department of the Air Force AFFF PFAS litigation; prospects for other states following New Mexico's lead

John D.S. Gilmour, Esq.
Kelley Drye & Warren / Houston, TX

Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) Multi-District Litigation: Nature of the consolidated cases; key issues to be resolved

T. David Hoyle, Esq.
Motley Rice / Mount Pleasant, SC

Industrial site cases in the Midwest: Primary issues, common threads, and areas where there are site-specific issues

Aaron M. Phelps, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Varnum / Grand Rapids, MI

5:00 pm

Continue the Exchange of Ideas: Virtual Reception for Faculty and Attendees

Open mic: Grab your favorite beverage and snack for a moment of comraderie and a less structured discussion of what is happening in the PFAS litigation world

Friday, October 09, 2020

9:00 am

PFAS Fate and Transport, Source Forensics, and Treatment

Fate and transport in complex environmental matrices and systems

John Cuthbertson , North America Industrial and Oil & Gas PFAS Lead
AECOM / Alto, MI

Considerations for fingerprinting PFAS sources; treatment/remediation advances

Rula A. Deeb, Ph.D. , Senior Principal
Geosyntec Consultants / Oakland, CA

10:30 am


10:45 am

Practical Tips for Approaching PFAS Cases

The interplay between PFAS claims and the evolution of regulatory standards over time: Lessons from the early PFAS cases on selecting and developing theories of liability

Robert A. Bilott, Esq.
Taft Stettinius & Hollister / Cincinnati, OH

Public opinions about PFAS: Guidance for developing trial strategies based on recent social research

Dennis P. Stolle, Ph.D., Esq. , President
ThemeVision LLC / Indianapolis, IN

12:15 pm

Lunch (on your own)

1:30 pm

PFAS Considerations in Future Business Transactions

Environmental due diligence and continuing (Due Care) obligations: Technical and legal perspectives on due diligence in the context of mergers and acquisitions or real estate transactions

Mark Westra , Principal
GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. / Grand Rapids, MI

Tammy L. Helminski, Esq.
Barnes & Thornburg / Grand Rapids, MI

Insurance options and issues unique to PFAS substances; other recent developments in environmental insurance coverage

Christopher Alviggi , Environmental Practice Group Leader
NFP Property & Casualty / Englishtown, NJ

3:30 pm

Evaluations & Adjourn

Faculty Bios

Charles M. Denton, II, Charles M. Denton, II, Program Co-Chair, is a partner at Barnes & Thornburg. He represents an array of clients in environmental and toxic tort litigation, enforcement defense, regulatory compliance solutions and pollution insurance coverage disputes.

Aaron M. Phelps, Aaron M. Phelps, Program Co-Chair, is a partner at Varnum. He currently represents over 400 Rockford area residents in lawsuits against Wolverine Worldwide and 3M related to PFAS contamination.

Christopher Alviggi Christopher Alviggi is the Environmental Practice Group Leader for NFP Property & Casualty.

Mark Benotti is an Mark Benotti is an Environmental Chemist at NewFields. He has worked on behalf of both industrial and government clients, developing analytical methodologies and interpreting environmental data for the purposes of understanding the impacts of anthropogenic activities on the environment.

Robert A. Bilott Robert A. Bilott is a partner at Taft Stettinius & Hollister. He brought the very first PFAS environmental exposure case in 1999 and is the author of "Exposure", which served as the basis for the recently released movie "Dark Water".

John Cuthbertson John Cuthbertson is the North America Industrial and Oil & Gas PFAS Lead for AECOM. He has managed dozens of projects involving PFAS constituents.

Rula A. Deeb is a S Rula A. Deeb is a S enior Principal at Geosyntec Consultants. Her work has promoted awareness and improved the understanding of the sources, occurrence, fate and transport, and behavior of several challenging environmental contaminants, including PFAS.

Jamie C. DeWitt, Ph.D., Jamie C. DeWitt, Ph.D., is an Environmental Toxicologist at the East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine. She employs principals from immunotoxicology, neurotoxicology, and developmental toxicology to understand how emerging environmental contaminants affect human health.

John D.S. Gilmour John D.S. Gilmour co-chairs the Environmental Litigation section at Kelley Drye & Warren. His environmental focus includes contaminated groundwater degraded from chemical and weapons manufacturing processes.

Tammy L. Helminski Tammy L. Helminski is a partner at Barnes & Thornburg. She advises municipal, manufacturing, institutional, and individual clients on the environmental aspects of their operations, including the unique challenges of PFAS.

T. David Hoyle T. David Hoyle is a partner at Motley Rice. He is a member of the Discovery Subcommittee of the Plaintiffs' Executive Committee in MDL 2873 involving aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) products which contain PFAS.

Jeffrey S. Longsworth Jeffrey S. Longsworth is a partner at Barnes & Thornburg. He serves as special environmental counsel to numerous national trade associations, Fortune 500 companies, industries, coalitions, airports, state and municipal government agencies, and other regulated parties.

Jaana Pietari, Ph.D., PE i Jaana Pietari, Ph.D., PE i s Senior Managing Consultant at Ramboll. She focuses on environmental remediation, the fate and transport of contaminants, hydrogeological assessments, the reconstruction of environmental releases to groundwater and sediments, and environmental forensics.

Steve Sliver Steve Sliver is the Director of Michigan's PFAS Action Response Team. He is responsible for coordinating Michigan's unique, multi-agency approach to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance contamination across the state.

Dennis P. Stolle, JD, PhD, is Dennis P. Stolle, JD, PhD, is a legal psychologist. He is the President and founder of ThemeVision LLC, a jury research and litigation consulting firm.

Mark Westra Mark Westra is a Principal at GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. The company provides geotechnical, environmental, water, ecological, and construction management services for private and public clients.

For the Live Program

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