Just In: 3M Handed Big Setback in Earplug Lawsuit
This past Friday, August 26, 2022, Judge Jeffrey Graham of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Indianapolis, declined to shield 3M from continued litigation surrounding its alleged defective military earplugs. This is seen as a major setback to 3M in its attempt to shift the liability litigation to the bankruptcy court in order to resolve the claims presumably for pennies on the dollar. 3M’s subsidiary, Aearo Technologies LLC, which manufactured the earplugs at issue filed for Chapter 11 last month.
As a result of the recent ruling, approximately 230,000 personal injury claims pending against 3M for the alleged defective earplugs still stand and will have their day in court with jurors. A 3M representative has already indicated that 3M would appeal Judge Graham’s ruling, indicating that litigating each case, as opposed to resolving the cases through bankruptcy, would “benefit no one.”
3M had purchased Aearo Technologies in 2008 which recently filed Chapter 11 after agreeing to indemnify 3M for all future and existing earplug claims. 3M, in turn, agreed to fund Aearo’s reorganization as well as an unlimited amount toward settling the earplug lawsuits.
Without Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, 3M will have to keep defending itself in federal court, which is estimated to cost 3M approximately $3.8 million per week. The stock market reacted to Friday’s ruling as 3M shares traded lower, closing down 9.65%.
While other companies such as Johnson &Johnson have also placed subsidiaries in bankruptcy in order to settle mass torts, unless 3M successfully appeals Judge Graham’s ruling, the pending cases against 3M will proceed. Bankruptcy court may provide tools for corporate conglomerates to resolve mass torts, but the settlements are far less than what is equitable, especially considering the nature of the damages that our military servicemembers who used the alleged defective 3M earplugs experienced.
There is Still Time to File a Claim
If you or a loved one suffer from tinnitus and/or hearing loss, were a Department of Defense contractor, served in the United States military or in the reserves between 2003 and 2015, and used the dual-ended Combat Arms Earplug (CAEv2) during service, you may be entitled to compensation.
We understand the emotional burden these impairments can have on individuals and their lives. That is why our firm provides a team of professionals committed to zealously represent our clients.
Please feel free to contact us at (954) 384-6114 so we may evaluate your legal rights so you can obtain the compensation to which you are entitled.
From The Trenches