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

Veterans Ask Court To Lift Stay On 3M's Earplugs Cases
Fri, 12/02/2022 - 18:47

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.

Bellwether Trial Of Hernia Mesh MDL Postponed Until May 2023

Bellwether Trial Of Hernia Mesh MDL Postponed Until May 2023
Wed, 11/30/2022 - 19:30

The United States District Judge presiding over all Bard hernia mesh lawsuits pending in the MDL (multidistrict litigation) has postponed the next bellwether trial until May 2023.

The delay is a result of the court-appointed master, who continues to work with the parties to help facilitate negotiations to settle thousands of claims pending in the federal court system.

Since each of the claims raises similar allegations that plaintiffs suffered painful complications due to design defects associated with certain polypropylene mesh products sold in recent years, including Bard Ventralex, Bard Ventralight, Bard Perfix, Bard 3DMax, and other systems, nearly 18,000 product liability lawsuits are currently pending in the federal Bard hernia mesh MDL, which is centralized before a U.S. District judge in the Southern District of Ohio.

While the parties made some progress last year in negotiating Bard hernia mesh settlements to resolve some state court claims in Rhode Island, following mixed results in the first two federal trials held before the judge, preparations for a third and fourth bellwether trial, which were originally scheduled to begin in February and May 2023, were resumed earlier this year. The next Bard hernia mesh trial date has been rescheduled for May 15, 2023, according to the issued order.

The Court made no mention of the reason for the delay or when the fourth trial, previously scheduled for May 2023, will now begin. The order, however, comes just weeks after a Bard hernia mesh settlement master was appointed to work with the parties in the lead-up to the next trial.

Although the results of early bellwether trials in the federal MDL will not be binding on other claimants, they are intended to help the parties gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the litigation, as well as determine the potential amounts of Bard hernia mesh lawsuit payouts that may be awarded if each claim goes to trial.

Additional $130M For Massachusetts Over Opioid Crisis

Additional $130M For Massachusetts Over Opioid Crisis
Tue, 11/29/2022 - 19:06

As part of a multistate settlement with two pharmaceutical companies over their alleged role in the opioid crisis, Massachusetts will receive $130 million.

Teva and Allergan will be required to pay more than $6.6 billion over the next seven to thirteen years to settle lawsuits filed by states and local governments alleging that they contributed to a wave of addiction.

According to the attorney general, Massachusetts' $130 million will be divided among cities and towns. Teva and Allergan's "unlawful behavior," according to the attorney general, contributed to a nationwide public health crisis that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.

The attorney general went on to say that these settlements require the manufacturers to pay for the treatment, recovery, and support services that families require, to change their business practices, and to turn over millions of internal documents for public inspection.

The states claimed in their legal challenge that Teva, based in Israel, used deceptive marketing to promote prescription opioids approved to treat cancer pain for non-cancer purposes. The states claimed that the company downplayed the risks of opioid addiction and pressured doctors to increase the doses they prescribed.

The settlement is the most recent in a series of lawsuits filed against the nation's largest drug manufacturers and distributors for their roles in the opioid crisis. Walmart tentatively agreed to pay states $3.1 billion to settle allegations that it improperly dispensed OxyContin and other powerful prescription opioids at its pharmacies. The settlement will net Massachusetts $61 million. The state will also receive funds from a $26 billion settlement reached earlier this year with Johnson & Johnson and three of the nation's largest drug distributors.

According to the attorney general's office, another $110 million will come from a $6 billion settlement with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family. According to state law, roughly 60% of those funds will be deposited in the state's opioid recovery fund, with the remainder going to cities and towns.

Many people's opioid addiction began with prescription painkillers like Oxycontin, which led them to street heroin and fentanyl when the more expensive pills became unavailable. Massachusetts has enacted some of the nation's strictest opioid prescribing laws, including a seven-day limit on new prescriptions and a requirement that doctors consult a state prescription monitoring database before prescribing an addictive opioid.

Despite these efforts, the number of opioid-related overdose deaths continues to rise, according to the most recent data. According to the state Department of Public Health, opioid-related overdoses killed 2,290 people in Massachusetts last year, an 8.8% increase from the previous year.

Fentanyl was found in 93% of overdose deaths where a toxicology report was available, according to state officials. According to public health data, over 10,000 people have died in the state from opioid-related overdoses in the last five years.