Marissa, a resident of a small town in Kentucky, learned that for some time her drinking water may have been contaminated with so-called “forever chemicals” or PFAS. It’s really a collection of chemicals used in products like fire-suppression foam, cookware, stain-resistant sprays, and food packaging. A local public radio reporter covering the story asked Marissa for her reaction. “I was never informed,” she said. “And now I’m worried, like, I hope I don’t have issues some day in my life.”
Marissa’s concern is like that of many people who find themselves in this situation and is at the center of this episode. When a case like Marissa’s goes to court, plaintiffs will seek a ruling that the responsible parties pay for years of medical monitoring. That means they are suing often without signs of an existing injury, and that defendants must pay for something when an injury may not arise. Attorney, author, and court-appointed case neutral, Edgar C. Gentle III, says that approach is antiquated. He outlines a better way in his 2014 essay titled The Medical Monitoring Tort Remedy: Its Nationwide Status, Rationale and Practical Application (A Possible Dynamic Tort Remedy for Long Term Tort Maladies). Now he shares his latest insights on the Emerging Litigation Podcast.
Ed Gentle is the Founding Partner of Gentle, Turner, Sexton & Harbison, LLC in Birmingham, Ala. He is a Rhodes Scholar and has five college degrees, three in law. He has practiced for nearly four decades, spending 90% of his professional time serving as a neutral assigned by judges to oversee aspects of mass tort litigation and settlements. He has helped create and administer over $2 billion in settlements during the past 25 years. Education: Bachelor of Science, Auburn University, summa cum laude, Danforth Scholar; Master of Science, University of Miami, summa cum laude, Maytag Fellow; B.A. and M.A. Degrees, Oxford University, Rhodes Scholar, Honors in Jurisprudence; and Juris Doctorate; University of Alabama School of Law, Hugo Black Scholar.
This podcast is the audio companion to the Journal on Emerging Issues in Litigation. The Journal is a collaborative project between HB Litigation Conferences and the Fastcase legal research family, which includes Full Court Press, Law Street Media, and Docket Alarm. The podcast itself is a joint effort between HB and our friends at Law Street Media. If you have comments or wish to participate in one our projects please drop me a note at Editor@LitigationConferences.com.