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June 21, 2019

Attorneys to Lead Discovery, Pretrial Proceedings Appointed to 3M Earplug MDL

The U.S. District Judge presiding over the 3M Combat Arms earplugs multidistrict litigation (MDL) recently appointed 53 plaintiff’s attorneys for different leadership roles to represent all the interests of the plaintiffs in the litigation. Judge Casey Rodgers issued a pretrial order May 22, selecting attorneys for the following roles:

  • Lead Counsel (1 attorney)
  • Co-Lead Counsel (2 attorneys)
  • Co-Liaison Counsel (2 attorneys)
  • Executive Committee (7 plaintiffs’ attorneys)
  • Steering Committee (15 attorneys)
  • Discovery & ESI Subcommittee (4 attorneys)
  • Early Vetting Subcommittee (6 attorneys)
  • Law, Briefing & Legal Drafting Subcommittee (5 attorneys)
  • Science & Experts Subcommittee (6 attorneys)
  • Common Benefit Fund Committee (5 attorneys)
  • Joint Discovery/ESI Committee (2 attorneys)
  • Joint Armed Services Committee (4 attorneys)
  • Joint Statutes of Limitations Committee (2 attorneys)
  • Joint Settlement Committee (3 attorneys)

The court selected attorneys for leadership positions based upon attorneys’ written and oral submissions. With product liability cases as complex as the 3M MDL, commonly the court acts to appoint lawyers to a group with different leadership roles to better organize general discovery, take actions that benefit all plaintiffs, and argue motions before the court. The different leadership roles do not impact individual plaintiffs’ maintaining their own attorneys to handle their case and argue 3M earplugs caused their injuries.

3M Litigation Background

There are 813 product liability lawsuits currently filed against 3M and Aearo Technologies, 3M’s subsidiary. But, tens of thousands of cases are expected to be fiede in the upcoming weeks and months as 3M earplug attorneys continue to file and review complaints. Each of these cases, filed by active military members and veterans across America, allege similar complaints that 3M knowingly sold the U.S. military defective dual-sided Combat Arms earplugs without disclosing the defect to the military. Plaintiffs claim the defect, a too short earplug stem, contributed to their hearing injuries, like hearing loss and/or tinnitus. These earplugs were distributed to the military between 2003 and 2015, 3M allegedly placing innocent soldiers at risk for over a decade.

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