Oct 11 (Reuters) – A state judge in Minneapolis ruled Thursday that Covington & Burling cannot represent the state of Minnesota in an environmental lawsuit against the law firm’s onetime client 3M Co.
Hennepin County District Court Judge Robert Blaeser disqualified Covington from the case due to the firm’s prior work for 3M on regulatory matters involving fluorochemical products. The Minnesota lawsuit had likewise involved fluorochemicals, creating a conflict, the judge said.
“Covington has exhibited a conscious disregard for its duties of confidentiality, candor, full disclosure, and loyalty to 3M by failing to raise its conflicts arising from the fact that it previously advised and represented 3M on (fluorochemical) matters,” Blaeser wrote.
The ruling followed five months of legal bickering between Covington, the prestigious Washington law firm, and 3M, the Fortune 500 company behind Scotch Tape and Post-it products.
A separate lawsuit by 3M against Covington arising out of the Minnesota case is pending in Minnesota state court.