PFAS & Emerging Contaminants

Every week seems to bring another significant development in the regulation of per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) and other emerging contaminants— from proposed maximum contaminant limits under the Safe Drinking Water Act, to billion-dollar settlements in class action lawsuits. To help clients navigate this changing environment, McGuireWoods’ environmental regulatory and litigation lawyers draw on deep PFAS experience in complex tort litigation, from the first threat of a dispute, through trial and beyond.

Clients depend on McGuireWoods’ advocacy to influence national and state policies concerning PFAS. Our team offers clients in-depth advice and support during the enactment of laws and the development of scientific guidelines that shape regulations. We also engage regulators as they contemplate policies, regulations and guidance impacting clients, and advocate clients’ positions before state lawmakers as they weigh adopting standards more stringent than federal ones.

Given the focus on this area by the plaintiffs’ bar, state attorneys general, regulatory agencies and the public, companies need to weigh their insurance options for PFAS risk mitigation as a strategic measure. McGuireWoods represents clients on insurance coverage and recovery, as well as arbitration and litigation of coverage matters. Our insurance recovery team litigates large insurance-coverage actions in state and federal courts. These lawyers’ willingness to pursue claims through trial has led to recovery of approximately $1 billion per year, each of the past three years, on behalf of policyholder clients.

How We Help

McGuireWoods supports clients as they assess and mitigate their PFAS risk, develop and apply business operational responses to changing PFAS laws and regulations at federal and state levels, and defend litigation as it arises, including navigating and coordinating national scientific defenses in novel contexts.

Our attorneys are at the forefront of the most complex environmental matters in the nation, serving as:

  • Lead attorney in one of the first major regulatory matters involving PFAS contamination from a manufacturing facility that impacted a municipal wastewater treatment plant, including investigation of a three-county area impacted by biosolids from the wastewater plant.
  • Lead counsel to a Fortune 100 company in completing a comprehensive assessment of PFAS in its products and leading the company through an effort to reduce or eliminate PFAS business risks, including defending several Proposition 65 and class action lawsuits alleging PFAS contamination in the company’s consumer products.
  • Lead trial counsel defending numerous “frackquake” lawsuits.
  • National coordinating counsel for a Fortune 100 chemical manufacturer in multiple state and federal jurisdictions in suits seeking billions of dollars.
  • Trial and appellate counsel for a major food manufacturer in 300 related complex, high-dollar nuisance cases.
  • Trial and appellate counsel for a Fortune 200 utility in multiple multibillion-dollar nuisance cases alleging air and water contamination due to global warming and fly ash residue. The team obtained dismissal of 12 causes of action, water-contamination allegations, and damages claims for medical monitoring, stigma, fear of future injury and emotional injury.
  • Trial counsel for clients across industries in numerous mass tort and class action nuisance suits alleging environmental contamination.
pfas brochure

Download a copy of our team brochure.

Nationally recognized for Environment and Product Liability and Mass Torts


Environment practice recognitions in North Carolina, Virginia and Washington, D.C.


Product Liability and Toxic Torts practice recognition in Virginia


Nationally recognized for Environmental Litigation, Environmental Regulatory and Product Liability, and Mass Tort and Class Action – Defense: Toxic Tort


No. 1 law firm to defend Fortune 500 companies in tort litigation


“Litigation Powerhouse”

– LAW360

Partner named “Environmental Law MVP” multiple times

– LAW360

Multiple partners named Environmental Law “Lawyers of the Year”


Multiple partners named “Energy & Environmental Trailblazers”