Wolverine asks for stay in local lawsuits regarding water contamination

Posted at 2:39 PM, Feb 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-22 14:39:30-05

ROCKFORD, Mich. – Wolverine Worldwide is asking a Kent County court to hold 28 lawsuits against them while a federal lawsuit is resolved.

The company posted an update on their blog Thursday saying that while they are working with the community to resolve issues of contaminated drinking water, they have to defend themselves against legal action.

Drinking wells in the Belmont, Rockford and Plainfield Township areas have tested for high levels of PFOA/PFAS chemicals which were used as a part of waterproofing leather good produced at a tannery in Rockford. The tannery closed years ago, but waste from the facility was dumped at legal locations throughout the area decades ago.  Recently, tests of water in that area showed increases in chemical contaminants.

The company has been providing filters and bottled water to residents in the affected area.  The blog post says that the company has been a good neighbor for 140 years and should be able to continue to work with residents.

The company earlier asked for 50 lawsuits to be dismissed. Varnum LLP in Grand Rapids is representing hundreds of residents who have filed lawsuits.