Wolverine World Wide Inc., the maker of shoe brands like Merrell, Saucony and Cat Footwear, has sued 3M Co., alleging it concealed information about the environmental and health risks of chemicals it sold to make shoes water and stain repellent. Wolverine’s suit says 3M made money by “actively concealing information regarding potential environmental risks known only to 3M.” The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Michigan District Court.
3M Co. already faces lawsuits from its long history of making and selling chemicals known as PFAS to other companies, many of which are over their use in firefighting foams. 3M said it disagrees with Wolverine’s allegations, saying in a statement that it has acted “responsibly in connection with products containing PFAS and will vigorously defend its environmental stewardship.” “3M made it, 3M sold it at a profit to thousands of companies and millions of consumers for decades, and 3M can no longer run from its responsibilities to Wolverine, the community, and the state of Michigan for the impacts of Scotchgard,” Wolverine Chief Executive Officer Blake W. Krueger said Wednesday in a statement. Wolverine had already been sued, in lawsuits that sought property damage and medical surveillance for families affected by the pollution. Wolverine also said in the statement that it has filed a notice in federal court urging the state of Michigan to add 3M as a defendant in the state’s existing lawsuit against Wolverine.
The case is 18-cv-00039, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality v. Wolverine World Wide, U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan.