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Spokane law firm expects multiple legal claims against Air Force

Spokane law firm expects multiple...

AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. - A Spokane law firm expects many people to seek damages from the Air Force.

Paukert and Troppmann have already filed one legal claim against Fairchild Air Force Base, seeking $1 million for a property owner who lives near the base.

Now, lawyers Andrew Biviano and Breaan Beggs expect to represent multiple other people who have been affected by the PFOS and PFOA contamination.

“There's a lot of facts to untangle here in who knew what when and who's responsible for the damage that's been caused to all these people who unwittingly trusted the water that came out of their taps,” said Biviano.

They have identified 4 main groups of people who have been affected by the contaminated water.

-First, people with homes and wells right by the base.

“It's polluted, they can't drink the water, their property value is destroyed,” said Beggs.

-Second, people who've been drinking Airway Heights water.

"That's a whole group that it's not their property damage, but their health needs to be monitored," Beggs said.

-Next, Airway Heights Businesses that have been affected.

-And finally, people who've been drinking the polluted water for a long time and have health issues their doctors say is related to this type of pollution.

“People are just kind of figuring that out with their doctors right now,” said Beggs.
Beggs and Biviano said many people have reached out to them, interested in taking legal action.

“We've received more than a dozen calls from people who have serious health issues that they can pretty directly trace to the water in Airway Heights and Medical Lake,” said Biviano.

And while Beggs and Biviano said the current wing commander is doing his best to handle the situation, more needs to be done for the people who have been affected.

"I feel like people are rallying, but it's not enough to rally right in the middle of a crisis," Beggs said, "you have to make things right for people at the end of the day."

"People who suffered because of this through no fault of their own deserve compensation for being damaged without doing anything wrong," Biviano said.

Fairchild's Wing Commander, Colonel Ryan Samuelson gave us a statement Friday afternoon that said:

"We understand the concerns that affected community members have and we've provided information necessary for them to file claims.

The property and personal injury claims that Fairchild AFB has received, and any future claims the installation may receive related to the PFOS/PFOA matter will be forwarded to the Air Force Legal Operations Agency in accordance with Air Force policy."