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Court Grants Temporary Restraining Order in 3M Lawsuit Against N95 Respirator Price-Gouging Defendants Who Claimed Personal Connection to 3M Executives

July 21, 2020

On July 14, 2020, a team of Maslon lawyers successfully obtained a temporary restraining order on behalf of client 3M to prohibit price gouging and false representations about the availability of 3M-branded N95 Respirators. Partners Bill Pentelovitch, John Duffey, and Tom Pack as well as Associate Ann Motl had previously obtained agreements for entry of Consent Judgments against two of the Defendants.

Judge Eric Tostrud of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota granted a temporary restraining order against the remaining defendants in 3M Company v. Legacy Medical Supplies, LLC et al., to stop Legacy Medical Supplies, LLC and affiliated individuals from engaging in price-gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic in connection with the sale of 3M-branded N95 respirators. The litigation was filed by Maslon against Legacy Medical Supplies, LLC, Jeremy Reboulet, Joseph Nelson, Mark Eckardt, others, for their alleged attempts to use 3M's famous trademarks to falsely claim affiliation with 3M and profit from selling 3M-branded N95 respirators at an enormous markup during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lawsuit alleges that Defendants falsely claimed a personal relationship with 3M Chief Financial Officer Nick Gangestad and 3M attorneys, and attempted to trade on those non-existent connections to price-gouge hospitals and other end users in connection with the sale of 3M-branded N95 respirators. 3M's Complaint alleges that Defendants claimed to have $160 billion in escrow for the purchase of 47 billion respirators, which is an enormous markup over 3M's list price for such respirators. 3M has not increased the price of N95 respirators at all during the COVID-19 pandemic and is working to increase the supply of N95 respirators to aid in the fight against the virus.

Judge Tostrud granted 3M's motion for a temporary restraining order against Defendants, finding that 3M is likely to prevail on its claims against Defendants and that the public interest weighs in favor of enjoining Defendants' use of 3M's trademarks and false claims of affiliation with 3M. Noting from the bench the strength of 3M's case, Judge Tostrud ordered the parties to report back on whether the Court will need to consider further injunctive relief, or whether Defendants will agree to such relief for the pendancy of the lawsuit.

3M has filed over a dozen similar cases over the past several weeks across the United States. The company is working with national and international law enforcement, state attorneys general, and the largest online retail and tech companies in the world to identify illegal activity and help punish criminals, with the end goal being to prevent fraud before it starts and stop it where it is happening.

Inquiries regarding this matter should be directed to Jennifer Ehrlich, jehrlich@mmm.com.

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