AG Keith Ellison announces lawsuits against COVID-19 testing companies

Minnesota Attorney General Keith announced his office has filed a lawsuit against two companies for "deceptive" COVID-19 practices.

Ellison announced the two companies are the Center for COVID Control and Doctors Clinical Laboratory.

"These entities collected samples from Minnesotans for COVID 19 testing but either failed to deliver test results or delivered test results that were false or inaccurate," Ellison told reporters in an online news conference.

Ellison reported his office received numerous complaints from Minnesotans who submitted COVID-19 tests at Center for COVID Control pop-up sites around the state and said they never received their test results from the company’s associated lab, Doctors Clinical Laboratory, even after weeks had passed.

Ellison said some Minnesotans also reported receiving test results despite never having submitted a sample for testing.

Edward Hugener says he and his 7th grade daughter stopped at one of the testing sites in Minneapolis on December 29th and he immediately sensed something amiss.

"There was two women working there you could tell were really overstressed." he says. "Yelling at people. It was a total disaster to be honest with you. And I saw someone in there like swabbing themselves so it wasn’t even like a nurse giving swabs. It was like a self-swab. Which I thought was bizarre."

He says he gave them contact information for him and his daughter, but left without getting a test because it was so crowded he thought he might catch COVID-19 because the site was so crowded. So he was surprised when he later received e-mails saying he and his daughter tested negative.

Other Minnesotans also reported receiving test results with false or inaccurate information about their tests, Ellison said.

"Minnesota’s fight against COVID-19 represents one of the greatest public health challenges the state has ever handled in its 164-year history," Ellison said. "And the attorney general’s office is here to help protect Minnesotans from COVID-19 spread but also from false, inaccurate information which will exacerbate the crisis."

Ellison went on to say, "Issuing false results, not issuing results at all, undermines the public’s trust in this crucial tool of testing. We cannot have that. These companies, taking advantage of Minnesotans for profit during this vulnerable time for families, is unconscionable."

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has previously reported on investigations into local testing companies.

The Better Business Bureau was investigating the Center for COVID Control amid growing concerns about the company’s practices. Last week, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reported the company suspended operations for a week.

Ellison urged Minnesotans to report their concerns with the Center for COVID Control and Doctors Clinical Laboratory by submitting a complaint here or by calling the attorney general’s office at 651-296-3353, if in the metro area, or 800-657-3787, if in the greater Minnesota area, or through Minnesota Relay at 800-627-3529.