AG Kaul, Gov Evers Announce Outside Counsel for Potential PFAS Claims
MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Josh Kaul and Governor Tony Evers today announced the selection of the law firm, Sher Edling LLP, to assist the state in its investigation and litigation of potential claims arising from PFAS contamination.
The selection follows a competitive bid process overseen by the Department of Administration (DOA) in accordance with Wis. Stat. section 20.9305. In January of this year, DOA issued an open solicitation for law firms to submit qualifications to act as outside PFAS litigation counsel to the state. DOA received 11 proposals. An evaluation panel comprised of professional civil service staff from the Departments of Justice, Natural Resources, and Administration scored the submissions and identified the finalist proposers who then submitted bids. Sher Edling LLP submitted the lowest bid among the finalists and was awarded the contract.
“Every Wisconsinite—whether they live in the Driftless, the Central Sands, the Northwoods, or in the heart of our urban areas—should be able to trust the water from their tap. Period,” said Governor Evers. “But for far too many Wisconsin households that is not the case, and I am glad we are moving forward to hold polluters accountable so we can clean up our water and protect the health and safety of our communities.”
“Clean water is essential to our health and well-being and to a thriving economy. We must protect it from PFAS and other contaminants that put people’s health at risk,” said Attorney General Kaul. “The addition of outside counsel will enhance our ability to get accountability from those who are responsible for the severe harms that PFAS contamination has caused in Wisconsin.”
The selected firm, Sher Edling LLP, represents state and local governments and other public agencies in significant environmental cases across the country. The firm currently represents public entities in multiple PFAS contamination matters and serves on the Plaintiffs' Executive Committee of the Aqueous Film-Forming Foams Product Liability Litigation.
PFAS, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of human-made chemicals manufactured and used for decades in numerous industrial processes and consumer products, which have made their way into the environment and are known to bioaccumulate in fish, wildlife, and humans, posing risk to human health. Wisconsin currently monitors nearly 50 sites across the state for PFAS contamination.
Other states, such as Michigan, Ohio, New Hampshire, and Vermont, have already pursued litigation against corporate actors responsible for PFAS contamination and have leveraged the funds derived from the litigation to support the communities most impacted.