3M Combat Earplug Litigation

Called the largest mass tort in history, news broke at the end of 2019 that the U.S. Army had been buying defective earplugs from 3M for over a decade. Nearly 1 million soldiers used these earplugs to combat the sounds of explosives and protect their hearing. Unfortunately, due to the defect, the earplugs did not work resulting in hundreds of thousands of soldiers suffering permanent hearing loss, tinnitus, or both. Approximately 250,000 lawsuits have been filed and consolidated in the Northern District of Florida. This year saw ten cases go to trial against 3M for the allegedly defective earplugs that were supplied to soldiers over a 12 year period of time. The results were a bit mixed, with five soldiers winning large verdicts and 3M winning 5 defense verdicts. I spoke with one of the attorneys involved with these trials, Mike Burns, to discuss the results of several of these trials on episode, the last one being. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/cut-to-the-chase/id1551362164?i=1000542046165.
As this newsletter is being posted, the next round of trials have begun. Currently, Judge Rogers in the Northern District of Florida is handling approximately 250,000 cases in multi district litigation, including the trials. I expect Judge Rogers to start remanding the 250,000 cases to the Courts were they were originally filed so the Judges in those districts can start to conduct their own trials on these cases, barring settlement.

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