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City of Lake Elmo v. 3M Co.

United States District Court for the District of Minnesota

February 15, 2017, Decided; February 15, 2017, Filed

Civil No. 16-2557 ADM/SER

Opinion

 [*881]  MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

On November 22, 2016, the undersigned United States District Judge heard oral argument on Defendant 3M Company's ("3M") Motion to Dismiss [Docket No. 25]. Plaintiff City of Lake Elmo ("Lake Elmo") is suing 3M to recover costs incurred in response to the discovery of perflourochemicals in its drinking water supply. For the reasons set forth below, 3M's Motion is granted in part and denied in part.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Parties

Lake Elmo is a Minnesota municipal corporation with offices in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. Compl. [Docket No. 1] ¶ 1. 3M is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Maplewood, Minnesota. Id. ¶ 2.

B. 3M's Production and Disposal [**2]  of Perflourochemicals

Beginning in approximately 1950, 3M manufactured a family of chemical compounds known as perfluorochemicals ("PFCs") for use in its products, including stain repellants, paints, hydraulic fluids, and other chemical products. Id. ¶¶ 6, 37. 3M also sold PFCs to other companies for use in their manufacturing processes. Id.

During the 1950s, 3M disposed of PFCs and PFC-containing waste at a facility it owned and operated in Oakdale, Minnesota (the "Oakdale Facilities"). Id. ¶¶ 7, 38-44. During the early 1970s, 3M disposed of PFCs and PFC-containing waste at the Washington County Landfill (the "Landfill") located in Lake Elmo. Id. ¶¶ 7, 45-49.

The Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") has issued health advisories for PFCs, warning that drinking water containing PFCs above certain levels poses human health risks. Id. ¶ 10. The risks include cancer, high cholesterol, increased liver enzymes, decreased vaccination response, thyroid disorders, pregancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia, and increased risks to a developing fetus. Id. ¶¶ 10, 22, 25, 35.

C. Discovery of PFCs in Lake Elmo's Drinking Water Supply

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237 F. Supp. 3d 877 *; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22202 **; 2017 WL 630740

City of Lake Elmo, Plaintiff, v. 3M Company, Defendant.

Subsequent History: Transfer denied by In re Aqueous Film-Forming Foams Prods. Liab. Litig., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 206582 (J.P.M.L., Dec. 7, 2018)

CORE TERMS

Tolling, contamination, trespass, groundwater, conversion, hazardous, disposal, nuisance, drinking, threshold, traceable, aquifers, exceeded, polluter, Cleanup