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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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