Status: Wisconsin recently announced an intent to move forward
On January 22 Governor Evers announced was going to be hiring outside counsel to represent the state in legal actions against “companies responsible for the contamination of our land and water.” The contamination he is referencing comes from PFAS and related compounds. Citing similar legal actions brought by Michigan, Ohio, New Hampshire and Vermont, the Governor intends to follow the trend set by those states and engage in “litigation against corporate actors responsible for PFAS contamination and  leverage the funds derived from the litigation to support the communities most impacted.”
Instead of using attorneys at the Wisconsin Department of Justice, the Governor wants to hire private law firms to bring these actions. He intends to pay those attorneys on a contingent fee basis – essentially they will get a cut of whatever they can get from businesses.
There is a request for qualifications that has been published seeking interested law firms. The state will interview those firms before the Governor selects one to engage. The lawyers selected will be made “Special Counsel” for the state and will bring lawsuits on behalf of the state.
There is not much more known at this time regarding where or under what legal theories the state will bring these lawsuits, this page will be updated when more information is available.
Copies of complaints that were filed by other states are available below, and based on the Governor’s press release announcement, similar legal action could be attempted here.