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Maslon Obtains Unanimous Verdict for Client in Groundwater Pollution Case

June 18, 2009

On June 17, 2009, Maslon trial lawyers Cooper Ashley, Catherine Ahlin-Halverson and Mike McCarthy obtained a major victory for Maslon client, 3M Company, when a Washington County jury returned a unanimous verdict in 3M's favor. The jury determined that 3M had not been negligent in the way it had managed certain waste streams from its perfluorochemical manufacturing processes between 1956 and 1975. The jury also rejected the plaintiffs' trespass claims and found that the three homeowner plaintiffs' property values had not been diminished by the presence of 3M chemicals in their soil and groundwater.

The verdict came after five weeks of testimony and was the culmination of over four years of litigation. The case was filed as a class action in October 2004. After the court dismissed plaintiffs' claims for medical monitoring and public nuisance, discovery proceeded on the remaining claims for personal injury and property damage based on the presence of chemicals found in the groundwater in Washington County. In 2007, the court denied a motion to certify the case as a class action on behalf of 67,000 Washington County residents. Earlier this year, the court awarded 3M summary judgment on the plaintiffs' claims for personal injury and private nuisance and on their claims under the Minnesota Environmental Response and Liability Act. The court allowed plaintiffs' property damage claims of negligence and trespass to go to trial and had permitted the plaintiffs to assert a claim for punitive damages, which would have been tried separately. The jury's rejection of plaintiffs' property damage claims brings to a close nearly five years of trial court proceedings with each of plaintiffs' claims having been adjudicated in favor of 3M.

To view recent coverage of the case, go to:
Jury rules in 3M's favor in groundwater pollution case - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Jury backs 3M in landmark pollution case - St. Paul Pioneer Press


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