Judge rejects class action certification in lawsuit against 3M

(AP) A judge rejected a motion Tuesday to grant class-action status to a lawsuit filed against 3M Co. by some residents of the eastern Twin Cities area over chemicals once made by 3M that have been found in private and city wells.

Washington County District Judge Mary Hannon ruled that the plaintiffs failed to meet the extensive legal requirements under Minnesota law to get the lawsuit certified as a class action. But she wrote that the lawsuit can still go forward on behalf of the plaintiffs who filed it and set a scheduling conference for Aug. 17.

The claims involve a family of chemicals called perfluourochemicals that 3M made for about 50 years at its plant in Cottage Grove until discontinuing production of them in 2002. The chemicals were used in several products, including Scotchgard stain repellants. They don't break down readily in the environment and build up in human and animal blood. There is disagreement on whether they pose a risk to human health.

Maplewood-based 3M disposed of waste materials containing PFCs at two landfills in Washington County in compliance with the applicable laws at the time, but the chemicals were later found in private wells in the Lake Elmo area and in Oakdale's city well, leading some residents to file the lawsuit against 3M in 2004. The lawsuit seeks to force 3M to take steps to prevent further contamination and remove the contamination that already exists, as well as monetary damages.AP-NY-06-19-07 1828EDT

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