Judge rules against 3M bid to disqualify state's attorneys

A judge has ruled against 3M in its bid to disqualify attorneys in a lawsuit the state of Minnesota has brought against the company.

Hennepin County Judge John McShane concluded Friday that 3M knew about a potential conflict of interest, but chose not to bring it up until both sides had already done significant work on the case.

The state sued 3M in 2010 over the company's manufacture and disposal of perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs, that have polluted Minnesota water.

In 2012, 3M moved to disqualify attorneys from the Covington and Burling law firm from working on the state's behalf. 3M attorneys argued the firm had a conflict of interest because it had represented 3M on a related issue in the past.

The judge on Friday also found that 3M had waived its right to disqualify the state's firm.

It's taken nearly three years to reach a resolution in this dispute over representation.

The broader dispute over PFC pollution has yet to be resolved.

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