3M Earplug Lawsuits to Be Heard in State Courts

A Minnesota judge kicked back part of a class-action suit against 3M, claiming the court did not have jurisdiction over some cases, according to Reuters.

Lawyers were attempting to file cases that originated in Florida in Minnesota. The Minnesota judge rejected 3M’s status as a military contractor, which would have given the company a defense as a federal contractor, placing the cases in federal court. Now the suits will need to be filed in individual state courts.

At issue are more than 240,000 claims of hearing loss or tinnitus allegedly as a result of defective Combat Arms Earplugs sold by 3M. A majority of those cases are set to be heard in the northern district of Florida under multidistrict litigation. About 1,000 cases have been filed in Minnesota, where 3M is headquartered.

The plaintiffs allege that 3M knew about defects associated with the earplugs, but sold them to the military without disclosing the issues or offering modifications, reported lawyers.com. The earplugs are too short to fit properly and could loosen without the wearer noticing.

In July 2018, the Justice Department ruled on a whistleblower case involving the defective earplugs filed under the False Claims Act. 3M agreed to pay the government a $9.1 million settlement. However, none of that money went toward individual service members or veterans, who now have a chance to sue 3M, as many have.

To date, three bellwether cases have gone to trial. 3M won in one, but the others resulted in verdicts of $7.1 million and $1.7 million.

If you were a U.S. serviceman or woman between 2003 and 2015, wore the Combat Arms Earplugs, and now have hearing issues, you may be entitled to compensation. If you would like to talk to an attorney experienced in catastrophic personal injury, please reach out to us. Our firm is recognized as a leader in litigating injury cases throughout Pennsylvania.