With about 139,000 cases – and more expected—filed against 3M to date, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has assigned the cases to Judge M. Casey Rodgers in the U.S. District Court in Pensacola, Florida for coordinated pretrial proceedings. Judge Rodgers recently announced leadership positions, appointing 53 lawyers from 42 firms to leadership for the plaintiffs.
Many lawsuits are being consolidated in the Northern District Court of Florida as a "multidistrict litigation," or MDL. Under the MDL process, Judge Rodgers will hear one "bellwether" case that then could determine how most others would proceed. According to 3M’s third-quarter financial statement, about 11,000 individual cases were consolidated in the mass action last April and the first bellwether trial is scheduled for April 2021.
Mass Tort Litigation
3M Combat Arms Earplugs became the biggest mass tort litigation news in 2019 and some legal experts predict it could become the largest mass tort outside of asbestos.
Mass tort is a legal action a group of people can take when they’ve been harmed by a particular product. Mass torts may not have as large of a group of plaintiffs as a class action case and the people may be from the same area. Each individual plaintiff must prove that a specific product caused his or her wrongful injuries. They can also have different circumstances of how they were hurt. These differences are considered when deciding if the case should be a mass tort or a class action.
Rewards can vary from plaintiff to plaintiff and because of the large number of plaintiffs in this mass tort litigation, the payout could be high for 3M.
3M Combat Earplugs - Plaintiff Allegations
Plaintiffs say that 3M’s combat earplug design was too short to be correctly inserted in the user's ear and would loosen imperceptibly. 3M allegedly knew its earplugs were faulty and sold them anyway, likely resulting in the hearing loss of thousands of soldiers, and putting millions more at risk.
According to the Department of Defense, the symptoms of combat-related hearing problems include difficulty hearing someone talking three feet away, difficulty understanding what people are saying, and buzzing or ringing in the ears.
READ MORE 3M DEFECTIVE EARPLUGS LEGAL NEWS
Are you entitled to Compensation?
If you are a veteran – or you know a veteran— with hearing problems you may be able to file a lawsuit against the earplug manufacturer and you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and loss of future earning capacity. The compensation can also be used to cover decreased quality of life, depression, anxiety, or other problems that resulted from hearing loss.
Financial compensation for U.S. Military may be available through a 3M earplug lawsuit for individuals who:
- Served in Military Between 2003 and 2015
- Were Issued Dual-End or Reversible Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2)
- Have been diagnosed with Hearing Loss or Tinnitus (Ringing in Ear)