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Como Neighborhood Case (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

Residents of the Como neighborhood in Minneapolis, Minnesota, filed a lawsuit in The United States District Court for the District of Minnesota on December 5, 2013, alleging that a research facility formerly owned and operated by General Mills is the source of dangerous chemical contamination recently discovered in vapor form throughout the neighborhood, including immediately underneath many homes at extraordinarily high levels.

The lawsuit, brought by Karl Ebert, Carol Krauze and Jackie Milbrandt, for themselves and other affected families, alleges that trichloroethylene (TCE), a human carcinogen, has been released from General Mills' former research and development facility, and it contaminated the groundwater beneath their homes, which in turn has allowed vapors containing TCE to migrate up from the groundwater, threatening to invade Como homes. The suit claims that at least 200 properties are currently known to be affected by the contamination, and that, as further tests are conducted, this number may well increase.

The lawsuit asks that the families be treated as a "class," so that they can have their cases heard collectively. It seeks the cleanup of the contamination and compensation for property damage due to the contamination, among other compensation.

Also, Count V of the lawsuit is a "citizens' suit claim" under the federal RCRA statute. It is necessary in this case because, while the State of Minnesota has known for many years of the dangers created by the toxic chemicals which General Mills buried on its own property and then allowed to migrate throughout the entirety of the proposed class area, the state has failed altogether to protect human health and the environment against those dangers. Under Count V, plaintiffs seek injunctive release against General Mills to: (1) stop General Mills from continuing the contaminate the environment, and (2) force General Mills to clean up their facility, the class area properties and the environment.

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Shawn Collins is a very talented lawyer, as are all the attorneys on his team. I've known and worked with Shawn for more that 30 years. Not only is he a top notch technical litigator but his communication skills are second to none. If anyone I know is ever in need of an attorney, Shawn is my very first recommendation. He gives very solid advice that goes beyond the law. He is someone you can trust to tell you the truth so you are not lead astray in the complex legal world. You really can't find a better advocate. E.M.
We were incredibly satisfied with our experience with The Collins Law Firm. We worked closely with Ed Manzke and found that he had a personal touch and truly got to know us in addition to being knowledgeable and effective in his field. The caring and individual attitude helped us tremendously throughout the entire process and we always felt like our case was in safe hands. We would highly recommend The Collins Law Firm for both its stellar work and dedicated employees. M.A.
My father recommended The Collins Law Firm to me after watching Shawn Collins and Ed Manzke at trial representing Lisle residents against Lockformer. For years, he told us courtroom tales about Shawn and Ed, citing their incredible skill as trial lawyers and how they put the huge Lockformer legal team to shame. So when my son was the victim of a wrongful death, they were my first and only choice. I can't say enough to truly express how grateful I am to The Collin's Law Firm for all that they did for me and my family. This amazing team advocated for me in my darkest moments, surpassing my expectations in every way. I will be forever grateful to Shawn and Ed. K.D.
I have worked with Rob, Shawn and The Collins Law Firm team in connection with both complex business transactions and litigation over the past several years. Shawn is far and away the best business litigation attorney I have worked with. Rob has been our lead attorney on M&A and corporate restructures, and he has delivered each time, and on time. I would highly recommend Rob to get the deal done! W.D.
Rob has been our out-side General Counsel for ten years. As a business with a global presence, it is important that we have the very best legal representation. Rob and the team have guided us through litigation battles, negotiating and drafting our important business contracts, and advising us in our business strategies. He has a great team of lawyers working with him. M.F.