Supreme Court Delays Decision On State’s Suit Against 3M

Supreme Court Delays Decision On State’s Suit Against 3M

The Minnesota Supreme Court reportedly asked a lower court to look into when 3M learned about a law firm's decision to work on a case against 3M.

The Minnesota Supreme Court—which was asked to determine whether the State of Minnesota’s law firm should be disqualified from a case against Maplewood-based 3M Company—has delayed taking action.

The state sued 3M in 2010 over alleged damage caused by the company’s disposal of chemicals called perfluorochemicals (PFCs). 3M used PFCs in the production of several consumer, commercial, and industrial products, and the lawsuit claimed that decades of disposal of PFC waste in Minnesota polluted ground and surface water.

3M subsequently sued the state's Washington, D.C.-based law firm, Covington & Burling, LLP, alleging that because the firm had previously worked with 3M on issues pertaining to its PFC business, Covington should be disqualified. Last summer, an appeals court sided with 3M and disqualified the firm. (Twin Cities Business highlighted the case as one of its “Top Lawsuits of 2013.”)

It was then kicked up to the state's Supreme Court, which has now sent the decision back down to a lower court for more fact-finding, according to a Pioneer Press report. Specifically, the Supreme Court told the district court to look into when 3M learned about Covington's decision to work on the state's lawsuit.