Feb. 10--Lawyers for the 3M Co. are asking for a delay in a $5 billion environmental trial.
The trial was scheduled to start Tuesday, but 3M attorneys say they need time to incorporate new "game-changing" data released by the state Health Department.
A hearing on the requested delay will be held at 1:30 p.m. today in Hennepin County District Court.
The state Attorney General is suing 3M for $5 billion, claiming the company manufactured chemicals and disposed of the chemicals in dumpsites in the 1970s. The chemicals eventually seeped into groundwater, and traces have been found in the drinking water of 67,000 residents of Washington County and in the broader environment.
3M says the dumping was legal at the time, and that the chemicals are harmless at levels found in the environment.
The Department of Health issued a news release Wednesday that apparently contradicts anticipated testimony by the Attorney General.
The department said that a study showed no additional cases of cancer, low birth-weight babies or premature births in the areas affected by the polluted water, including Oakdale. But according to court documents, a witness for the Attorney General will testify that the chemicals did cause higher rates of cancer, low birth-weight babies and premature births in Oakdale.
The Attorney General's office did not return phone messages left Friday morning.
In court filings, 3M attorneys called the department report "game-changing" and said it will "undermine (if not destroy) the State's principal health claims in this action."
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