U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers, who is overseeing the 3M defective military earplugs litigation, recently set the first trial dates for service members and veterans with cases against 3M. Five plaintiffs were selected for an initial bellwether case pool in the multidistrict litigation that has now ballooned to over 220,000 cases (a). Three of the cases, involving plaintiffs Luke and Jennifer Estes, Lewis Keefer and Stephen Hacker, were consolidated to one trial, which Rodgers set for April 5, 2021. Judge Rodgers set additional trial dates for plaintiffs Dustin McCombs and Lloyd baker for May 17 and June 7, respectively.
As you may recall, the lawsuits against 3M were consolidated in Florida federal court under Rodgers, who also served in the United States Army from 1985-1987 and has been described as “an able jurist with experience in presiding over a large products liability MDL (b).” As part of the MDL process, the five cases mentioned above were selected for bellwether trials, which serve as a sort of “test case” to help anticipate the results of future similar cases and with a goal of moving the overall litigation towards resolution.
The hundreds of thousands of actions currently pending against 3M generally allege that the defendants’ dual-ended Combat Arms earplugs were defective and didn’t come with adequate warnings, causing plaintiffs to develop hearing loss and/or tinnitus. The plaintiffs also allege they received the earplugs during their military service, had their hearing measured through military-issue audiograms, and were injured during their military training (c). 3M denies the allegations and has vowed to vigorously defend themselves against these claims.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs issued a statement regarding the recent order, “We are pleased with the Court’s decision, and look forward to trial so that servicemembers can hold 3M accountable for the permanent, life-altering hearing damage caused by these defective earplugs (d).”
If you or a loved one were a U.S. military service member, veteran or contractor between 2003 and 2015 who was diagnosed with partial or total hearing loss or suffer from tinnitus, you may also have a claim against 3M for substantial compensation without ever going to court. Complete the intake form here for a free, no-obligation review of your case. Feel free to share this with any friends of family who may have been affected as well – we’re here to help. If you do not receive a recovery through a lawsuit or settlement, you don’t owe us anything.