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West-Michigan shoe company named in class action suit

A courtroom
Bill Ledbetter
Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Some national law firms filed a class action lawsuit today against Wolverine Worldwide and 3M Corporation over a toxic chemical plume in West Michigan.

The suit alleges that Wolverine dumped harmful chemicals in the environment. It also alleges that the company didn't do enough to fix the problem.

Wolverine Worldwide, 3M Corporation and Waste Management Inc. were all named in the suit for their involvement in the groundwater contamination.

The ground water in several Kent County communities is testing positive for per- and polyflouralkyl substances -- or  PFAS.

Sharon Almonrode is with the Miller Law Firm, one of the firms who filed the suit.

Almonrode believes a class action suit is best for the people affected by the contamination.

“When you have them sue in a class action, it enables them, it empowers them as a collective to take on the large corporation,” Almonrode said.

Almonrode says Wolverine had several opportunities in the past to help remediate the issue.

“As early as 1999, they received a letter from 3M that suggested that these chemicals could be toxic,” Almonrode said.

Wolverine makes shoes and boots under brands including Hush Puppies and Merrell. No one from the company was immediately available for comment.

Wolverine has been supplying bottled water to homes in the Department of Environmental Quality’s testing zones. For homes that test high enough for PFAS, the company has been giving whole home filtration systems. 

Bryce Huffman was Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter and host of Same Same Different. He is currently a reporter for Bridge Detroit.
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