Veterans Ask Court To Lift Stay On 3M's Earplugs Cases

A group of plaintiffs has asked the court to lift the stay on the earplug hearing loss lawsuits and allow the cases to proceed.

Plaintiffs in 13 cases asked the judge on November 23 to lift the stay that was preventing their Wave 1 cases from moving forward, claiming that they all received earplugs distributed by 3M after it acquired Aearo Technologies in 2008.

While plaintiffs acknowledge that their cases are not the only ones involving earplugs distributed after 2008, they argue that any appeal regarding whether 3M Company can be held independently liable for earplugs developed and sold by Aearo will have no bearing on their claims.

According to the motion, each of the foregoing plaintiffs wishes to pursue claims solely against defendant 3M Company based on defendant 3M Company's own independent actions and omissions with respect to the CAEv2, which actions and omissions caused plaintiffs' auditory injuries. The aforementioned plaintiffs are not pursuing successor liability claims against defendant 3M Company. Because successor liability is not at issue in any of the aforementioned cases, plaintiffs respectfully request that the stay be lifted in these cases so that they can proceed through the MDL process and be remanded for trial at an appropriate juncture.

On November 28, the judge presiding over the MDL issued an order requiring 3M to respond to the plaintiffs' motion by December 5, 2022.

More than 230,000 U.S. military veterans are currently pursuing product liability lawsuits related to hearing loss or tinnitus caused by 3M Combat Arms Earplugs, which were issued as standard equipment to all service members between 2004 and 2015. Plaintiffs, on the other hand, claim that the earplugs were sold to the US government with a known design flaw, leaving veterans without adequate ear protectors while serving.

Throughout the proceedings, 3M Company has defended both itself and its Aearo subsidiary, but has been hit with a series of massive verdicts in early "bellwether" trials designed to help the parties gauge how juries would respond to certain evidence and testimony that would be repeated throughout the litigation.

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