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Kate Campbell of Manko Gold Katcher & Fox. Kate Campbell of Manko Gold Katcher & Fox.

Last spring, I participated on a CLE panel presentation for in-house attorneys on creative legal theories that plaintiffs are pursuing in environmental and toxic tort litigation. For many of the theories we covered, we advised our audience that the case law is still developing and it isn’t always easy to predict how a court might rule, particularly at the trial court level. But on one topic—the availability of class actions to pursue medical monitoring for alleged exposure to a toxic chemical—I felt fairly certain about the future, suggesting to the audience that we shouldn’t see them any longer, at least not in federal court. Now, just a year later, the surge in toxic tort cases on account of PFAS and other so-called “emerging contaminants” has caused me to revisit my prediction, and serves as a reminder of how public health concerns can shape the law in some fairly fundamental ways.

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