Illinois v. 3M Company PFAS Pollution Case Moved to the Central District of Illinois

On Thursday, defendant 3M Company filed a notice of removal to remove the case of Illinois v. 3M Company to the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois. The Illinois Attorney General filed the original complaint in the State of Illinois Circuit Court of the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit against 3M for the discharge, emission, placement, disposal, leakage, spillage and/or abandonment of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). 

According to the complaint, 3M is a Delaware corporation that has owned and operated a manufacturing facility along the banks of the Mississippi River in Cordova, Illinois since 1970. Further, the complaint states that the Cordova facility is located on 740 acres with approximately 1.2 miles of river frontage. 

The complaint alleges that 3M produces and uses several different PFAS at its Cordova facility. Additionally, the complaint states that PFAS are toxic human-made chemicals that are harmful to the public health, safety and welfare, and to the environment. The complaint further states that due to the damage PFAS cause to human health and the environment, the United States EPA, the Illinois EPA and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources have set strict regulations and guidelines for the use, disposal and storage of PFAS. 

The state of Illinois alleges that 3M has caused significant PFAS contamination and pollution in the Mississippi RIver and the surrounding waters, sediment, soil and air around its Cordova facility. Specifically, the complaint purports that 3M has discharged PFAS-containing waste directly into the Mississippi River, improperly disposed of PFAS-containing sludge, emitted airborne PFAS, and spilled and leaked PFAS from containers, piping systems, tanks and its wastewater treatment process. Further, the complaint states that samples form the Cordova facility’s manufacturing area found PFAS levels significantly higher than the Illinois EPA’s current Health Advisory Levels and proposed groundwater quality standards.

Additionally, the plaintiff argues that 3M has continuously tried to deny the adverse effects of PFAS on the environment and human health and has intentionally concealed the dangers of PFAS from governmental entities, including the state of Illinois and its agencies. The plaintiff contends that 3M concealed the dangers of PFAS and continued to manufacture and use PFAS at the Cordova facility to protect profits and avoid public responsibility for injuries and damage caused by their toxic products. 

The complaint alleges that 3M’s negligent, intentional and reckless use of PFAS has resulted in substantial injury to property and natural resources in Illinois and has placed Illinois residents at risk of adverse health effects. Accordingly, Illinois brings the present action against 3M under the Illinois Environmental Protection Act, the Illinois Department of Resources Act, Illinois laws of negligence, trespass, public nuisance and unjust enrichment and seeks compensatory damages, statutory penalties, injunctive relief, pre-judgment interest and costs.  

The plaintiff is represented by the Illinois Attorney General, DiCello Levitt Gutzler LLC, Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL and Fields PLLC. The defendant is represented by Mayer Brown LLP.