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Judge Sets Date for First 3M Earplug Bellwether Trial

Judge Sets Date for First 3M Earplug Bellwether Trial

A pretrial order was issued by United States District Judge Casey Rodgers on June 29, stating that the first 3M earplugs bellwether case would be going to trial on April 5, 2021. This arrangement marks another significant step taken regarding 3M earplug litigation.

The lawsuits involved in the bellwether trials allege that the 3M dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs, which were exclusively supplied to the United States military from 2003 to 2015, were defective and caused hearing loss and/or tinnitus. To date, more than 150,000 cases have been filed by veterans alleging such harm.

Consolidated Litigation

On April 3, 2019, the United States Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation consolidated all pending federal cases regarding the defective earplugs into a multi-district litigation (MDL). MDLs are useful in that they allow courts to coordinate litigation that has been filed across multiple districts and concerns intricate cases that involve many parties.

The judicial panel’s decision to consolidate litigation into an MDL allowed the cases to be integrated and transferred to the Northern District of Florida to be heard before Judge Rodgers. This centralization helps to eliminate duplicate discovery of evidence and prevent inconsistent or conflicting pretrial rulings, as well as conserve the resources of the involved parties, their legal council, and the courts.

Future Bellwether Trials

Over the past year, Judge Rodgers has been strongly encouraging lawyers for the parties involved to take part in settlement negotiations. While some parties reached settlement agreements, not all did. As a result, Judge Rodgers began scheduling bellwether trials in hopes of moving overall litigation towards a resolution.

This first bellwether trial pool that is scheduled to go to trial on April 5 is known as Group A and includes 25 cases that were selected by the court in March 2020. The agenda for this group requested that plaintiff’s depositions be complete by July 31, discovery be complete by October 9, and challenges to expert witness testimony be complete by January 8 of 2021. Furthermore, Judge Rodgers issued an order requesting bellwether trial Groups B, C, and D to submit tentative trial schedules by the end of July.

Contacting an Attorney

If you were a member of the United States military and believe that you may have sustained hearing problems as a result of using 3M earplugs, you may be entitled to compensation. Fighting against a large company such as 3M can be difficult and intimidating, but the lawyers here at Whitley Law Firm are here to help you through every step of the way and fight for the justice that you deserve. Contact our offices today.