Proposed bill would allow water crisis lawsuits past current statute of limitations

HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Local lawmakers hope a new bill will change the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit in connection to the Hoosick Falls water crisis.

Lawmakers fear that some in Hoosick Falls may be left behind when it comes to filing lawsuits, but they have a plan they hope can change that.

“It’s a matter of making sure that people have a right to file an action and proceed,” Assemblyman John McDonald said.

“A lot of people are going to be left at the courthouse door if we don’t change the law with respect to PFOA exposure,” attorney E. Stewart Jones said.

Stacy Parker lives in Hoosick Falls.

“My own children have had some endocrine issues,” she said. “I, myself, am a two-time cancer survivor, including thyroid cancer.”

The existing statute of limitations to bring a personal injury claim has already passed for many when it comes to the date someone may have become sick from PFOA exposure. But many like Parker didn’t know their illness could have come from the PFOA contamination in the village drinking water.

A new bill would change that. It would allow a claim to be filed within three years from the time a site is deemed a state or federal superfund site as well as three years from the time the date of injury could be related to exposure.

Jones said he already has clients from Hoosick Falls with health issues, and he believes they have a strong case.

“They have known for years, as a result of litigation involving DuPont that this is a bad chemical, and action should have been taken,” he said. “It should have been added to the prohibited list, and federal and state governments should have acted more quickly; certainly the DEC. The State of New York has a lot of bright people. They knew this was not something that anybody should be exposed to. But until something like Hoosick Falls occurs, governments don’t act.”

The current legislative session ends in June. McDonald hopes the bill will pass by then.

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