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In the recently-released film, Dark Waters, Mark Ruffalo stars as the real-life environmental attorney Robert Bilott of Taft Stettinius & Hollister. The movie depicts Bilott waiting several painstaking years for the release of a science panel study—assembled via settlement agreement with DuPont—to confirm the human health effects of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Absent from the film, however, is Bilott’s involvement in per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) litigation in New Jersey during that waiting period. Bilott, along with the New Jersey environmental firm Lieberman & Blecher, filed suit in federal court in 2006 on behalf of a class of plaintiffs who drank water contaminated with PFAS emitted from the DuPont Chambers Works site in Deepwater. Rowe v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., No. 1:06-cv-01810 (D.N.J.). In the Rowe case, the class was certified based on a private nuisance claim, and the plaintiffs obtained clean water as part of a settlement. The $8.3 million settlement was approved in 2011.

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