AG Ellison sues COVID-19 testing companies accused of faking test results

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has announced a lawsuit aimed at companies who deceived patients looking for a COVID-19 test.

Wednesday, Ellison filed the lawsuit against two Illinois-based companies – Center for COVID Control, LLC and Doctors Clinical Laboratory, Inc. – that collected samples from Minnesotans for COVID-19 testing, but either failed to deliver test results or delivered test results that were falsified or inaccurate.

According to a Zoom meeting detailing the announcement, Ellison received numerous complaints from Minnesotans who submitted COVID-19 tests at pop-up sites around the state, operated by Center for COVID Control who never received their test results from the company’s associated lab, Doctors Clinical Laboratory, despite waiting for weeks or more. Minnesotans also reported receiving test results from the companies despite having never submitted a sample for testing.

Former employees of Center for COVID Control reported that while the company could initially handle its load of local tests, its processing center failed to expand as the company opened up testing sites around the country, including in Minnesota. One former employee described the results as "chaos, with received samples being stuffed into trash bags strewn across the office floor," according to the lawsuit. Former employees also recounted finding samples in bags that were well over 48 hours old, being instructed by management to falsify dates of receipt, and being instructed to lie to consumers about their tests being inconclusive or negative when, in fact, the sample had not been tested.

"My job is to fight for Minnesotans’ security and help them live with dignity, safety, and respect. Making sure that Minnesotans have accurate tools to them safe from the COVID-19 pandemic is a key part of that job," Ellison said in the announcement of the lawsuit. "When Minnesotans and people from around the country tested with these companies to keep themselves and their families safe, they trusted they would get correct results on time. I’m holding these companies accountable that sent back false or inaccurate results, when they sent them back at all, for deceiving Minnesotans and undermining the public’s trust in testing."

Minnesota consumers who believe they were affected can report their concerns with the Center for COVID Control and Doctors Clinical Laboratory, including inaccurate reporting or failure to receive test results, by calling the Attorney General’s Office at 651-296-3353 or 800-657-3787.