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Court Rules for 3M in Breast Implant Case

August 22, 2003

ST. PAUL (AP) _ The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a group of insurance companies must reimburse 3M Co. for hundreds of millions of dollars related to silicone breast implant lawsuits.

The court, however, ruled 3M was not entitled to attorneys’ fees from the 29 insurers.

``We’re very pleased by the court’s decision today requiring insurers to provide the insurance benefits purchased by 3M,″ said Richard Ziegler, 3M general counsel, in a prepared statement.

The Maplewood-based company expects to collect about $250 million from the insurers as a result of the decision. 3M, however, does not expect the money to affect its earnings.

Between 1977 and 1985 some women who received 3M silicone-gel breast implants filed lawsuits claiming the implants caused them serious health problems. 3M denied the implants caused health problems but settled the class-action after watching other claimants win large verdicts.

3M then turned to its liability insurers to help pay the settlements. Some of the insurers declined arguing that while the policies were in effect at the time of the women received the implants, those policies had expired by the time the women experienced symptoms and 3M then sued.

The state Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that found any damage caused by the implants started on the cellular level at the time of implant.

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