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3M accuses prominent D.C. lawyer of blackmail conspiracy

Litigation over medical diagnostic test expands

3M Corp. is accusing a well-known lawyer of coordinating a massive blackmail conspiracy against the company, according to papers filed yesterday in New York’s Supreme Court.

The complaint is the latest in a string of lawsuits over the past three years related to a diagnostic test used to detect methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, in hospitals. The test featured technology called BacLite, which was developed by the British Ministry of Defense. The MRSA test was supposed to be marketed by 3M, but in 2008, the company decided to back out of the acquisition, saying studies had uncovered high error rates.

One investor—Harvy Boulter—whose equity fund had the majority interest in the diagnostic test, sued 3M the same year, accusing it of failing to fulfill its marketing agreements. 3M countersued, accusing Boulter of trying to blackmail the company to settle the lawsuit. Boulter then filed a libel suit against 3M.

In the latest suit, 3M targets Lanny J. Davis, a Washington, D.C., lawyer who is best known for defending then-President Clinton during his impeachment and who represents Boulter’s equity fund. 3M accuses Davis of organizing a series of defamatory attacks to blackmail the company and its chairman. Davis denies the allegations.

Read more about the 3M litigation in the New York Times.

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