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For the thousands of veterans already participating in the 3M Earplug Lawsuit, the long fight to get what they’re owed continues. After 3M’s bankruptcy failure and several losses, the company may be more open to discussing negotiations to settle these claims. 

The case revolves around the claim that 3M Company knowingly sold defective earplugs to the US military, causing thousands of servicemen and women to suffer hearing loss and tinnitus. The lawsuit has gained widespread attention due to the severity of the allegations and the number of people affected. Currently, the 3M Earplug Lawsuit is the largest MDL in history. 

April 2023 3M Earplug Lawsuit News: 3M’s Desperate Attempts to Get Out of Paying Veterans 

To date, 3M has lost 10 of 16 cases that have gone to trial. Juries have awarded 13 plaintiffs about $265 million. 

April 25: 3M announced that it is doing mass layoffs. It is unclear if this is directly related to the 3M earplug litigation. However, there is speculation that the company’s uncertainty concerning the lawsuits has pushed it to lower variable costs. This seems like another desperate tactic by corporate America to paint plaintiffs’ attorneys as the bad guys when the company could’ve just settled with the injured victims years ago. We hope the American public doesn’t fall for it.

April 20: U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Jeffrey Graham heard both sides’ oral arguments to dismiss the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filed by Aearo Technologies. Previously, Judge Graham refused to extend the stay in the bankruptcy to over 3M—a ruling currently on appeal to the 5th Circuit. 3M earplug lawsuit plaintiffs are asking the Judge to dismiss the bankruptcy because Aearo is not in financial distress. 

April 15: 3M attempts to persuade a federal appeals court that the earplug litigation must be put on hold because of 3M’s subsidiary, Aearo Technologies’ bankruptcy. 

The 3M Earplug Lawsuit: Timeline of Events 

The 3M Earplug Lawsuit was first filed in 2016 by a whistleblower, who alleged that 3M had sold its Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2) to the military despite knowing that the earplugs were defective. The whistleblower, a former 3M employee, claimed that 3M had manipulated test results to show that the earplugs met the required safety standards when in fact, they did not.

According to the allegations, the earplugs were too short to be properly inserted into the ears. As a result, they could gradually loosen and fail to protect the ears from loud noises. This defect allegedly led to thousands of military personnel suffering hearing loss, tinnitus, and other hearing-related injuries.

2018: False Claims Act

The lawsuit gained momentum when the Department of Justice intervened in the case in 2018, alleging that 3M had violated the False Claims Act by selling the defective earplugs to the military. The False Claims Act allows whistleblowers to file lawsuits on behalf of the government and claim a portion of any damages awarded.

“Reckless Disregard” for the Safety of Military Personnel

In July 2018, a federal jury found that 3M had acted with “reckless disregard” for the safety of military personnel and awarded $9.1 million in damages to three veterans who suffered hearing loss as a result of using the defective earplugs. The verdict was seen as a major blow to 3M, and it was expected that more lawsuits would follow.

In the months that followed, thousands of veterans and service members filed lawsuits against 3M, claiming that they had suffered hearing loss and other injuries as a result of using the CAEv2 earplugs. 

The cases were consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of Florida, where they are being heard by a single judge. As of March 16, there were 330,000 cases filed and nearly 260,000 pending cases. 

2019: Hundreds of Cases Filed and Consolidated in Florida

In January 2019, the first major round of personal injury lawsuits are filed against 3M by military veterans. 

Two months later in March, hundreds of the 3M earplug lawsuits are consolidated into a newly formed MDL in the Northern District of Florida. 

2020: The Lost Year

The COVID-19 pandemic puts a hold on litigation.

2021: First Bellwether Test Trial Concludes

3M Earplug litigation resumed in 2021. 

In May 2021, a jury awarded the three veterans $7.1 million in damages. The verdict was a significant win for the plaintiffs. In addition, it served as a warning to 3M that they could face significant financial liability in the remaining cases.

2022: Judge Orders 3M to Pay Several Million

There were another six trials in 2022. Plaintiffs win five of the trials, and where juries award them nearly $250 million.

In August 2022, 3M hatched a plan for its subsidiary Aearo to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The goal is to force the earplug claims out of the MDL and into bankruptcy.

Your 3M Earplug Lawsuit Lawyers

The Carlson Law Firm’s attorney Ruth Rizkalla is on leadership in the 3M MDL. This means that we are in the thick of the fight against 3M to get clients the compensation they deserve. For a 3M earplug lawsuit law firm that will defend your rights, schedule a free consultation with our team.

We care. We can help.

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