Emerging risk analytics company Praedicat has updated the litigation tracker in its CoMeta software product with the addition of three new mass litigations.
The new mass litigations include PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), heavy metals in baby food, and paraquat, a herbicide alleged to cause Parkinson’s disease.
These will be added to the tracker’s ongoing coverage of COVID-19 personal injury litigation.
David Loughran, Senior Vice President and Cofounder of Praedicat said: “There are 5,153 complaints, filed in 40 courts, naming 193 companies, spanning 82 industries, over 22 years.
“PFAS may become the largest and most complex mass litigation in a generation, and we intend to help our clients monitor and manage it.”
The litigation tracker is designed to be a comprehensive inventory of the litigation and will be updated as new cases are added.
The most famous PFAS chemicals are perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), which was used to create Scotchgard, and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), used to create Teflon.
While these chemicals were phased out of production in recent years in the United States, scientists have been raising concerns that a set of replacement chemicals continue to have health and environmental impacts.
They have been used in a wide range of products including food packaging, firefighting foam, cosmetics, building products and more. “They are both forever and everywhere,” says Loughran.
In addition to the PFAS chemicals, the litigation tracker has also added two more recent mass litigations: toxic baby food and paraquat. Toxic baby food litigation began in February after a Congressional report found elevated levels of heavy metals in baby food.
The resulting litigation now includes more than 120 cases involving prominent baby food manufacturers along with supermarket chains.
The Paraquat litigation, which primarily involves workers with Parkinson’s disease exposed to the herbicide, began in 2017, but has recently grown to 116 cases after the first cases were allowed to proceed past initial hearings earlier this year.
Praedicat’s emerging risk solution is intended to provide insight on emerging risks from early identification through litigation. The possibility of baby food and paraquat litigation was evident in Praedicat’s early warning system years before these litigations emerged.
In the case of PFAS, where the litigation began before Praedicat was launched in 2012, Praedicat’s early warning system anticipated the significant increase in cases witnessed since.
Julia Fuller, Praedicat’s Senior Vice President for Account Management added: “The expansion of the litigation tracker represents our vision of an end-to-end solution to managing large-scale casualty risk for our clients.
“The social inflation environment in the United States today is leading to a growing number of new mass litigations. Our plan is to continue expanding our mass litigation court data over time, prioritising the addition of newly launched or accelerating litigation events.”