On January 25, 2019, a petition was filed with the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (“JPML”) requesting that cases brought by military veterans with hearing loss against the earplug manufacturer, 3M Company, be transferred to the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota.
In July, 2018, the Department of Justice announced that 3M Company “agreed to pay $9.1 million to resolve allegations that it knowingly sold the dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) to the U.S. military without disclosing defects that hampered the effectiveness of the hearing protection device.” Specifically, the U.S. had alleged that 3M and its predecessor, Aearo Technologies, Inc., knew that the CAEv2 was too short for proper insertion into users’ ears and that the earplugs could loosen imperceptibly and therefore did not perform well for certain individuals, putting service members at risk for hearing loss and tinnitus (i.e. ringing or other noise in the ears). The U.S. further alleged that 3M did not disclose this design defect to the military.
Suits are now being filed nationwide against 3M Company by veterans who have suffered partial or total hearing loss as a result of the Combat Arms Earplugs. Counsel for one of the claimants has now asked the JPML to consolidate the cases as a “MDL” (multi-district litigation) and to consolidate them in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. A MDL is a type of legal proceeding that helps federal courts efficiently manage many similar cases filed in many different courts across the U.S. by allowing the temporary transfer of all of the federal civil lawsuits to one or more district courts for pretrial consolidation or coordination. The JPML is a group of federal judges designated by the Chief Justice of the United States, which has the responsibility for determining which cases qualify for treatment, as well as which district court to transfer and consolidate these cases. The transfers are made if the Panel determines that the transfers will result in the convenience of the parties and witnesses and will promote the just and efficient conduct of the cases. Even if consolidated, however, each 3M case would maintain its own individual identity. (For more information about MDLs and the JPML, contact Borgess Law.)
HOW WE CAN HELP:
Borgess Law, LLC is now investigating cases of veterans nationwide who suffered partial or total hearing loss as a result of the Combat Arms Earplugs. If you, or a loved one were active in any branch of the military at any time from 2003 to 2015 and suffered hearing loss, you may have a potential claim against the ear plug manufacturer.
Borgess Law, LLC, has extensive experience with numerous national high-profile defective consumer product cases and will happy to discuss your legal options. For more information about the 3M Combat Arms lawsuits or to discuss a potential claim, contact Borgess Law at (567) 455-5955. You can also contact Borgess Law by submitting an online inquiry. Borgess Law never charges for initial consultations. We welcome any questions you may have.