The 3M Combat Arms Earplug Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) has surpassed the largest MDL ever, with over 200,000 actions since 2018. Pending since 1991, IN RE: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation was the largest MDL, that is until October 2020 when IN RE: 3M Combat Arms Earplug Liability Litigation took over.
3M Combat Arms Earplug MDL is set to begin the first bellwether trial in April. The case alleges defective earplugs have caused hearing loss and tinnitus to hundreds of thousands of product users. The first bellwether trial will be apprised of three cases.
The goal of a bellwether trial, which is commonly used in an MDL, is to test a case that is representative of all cases in the litigation and can be used to shape the process for addressing the remaining cases. These trials can help advance a large litigation toward resolution in a more timely manner. This can often lead parties to decide whether to settle their claims or continue to litigate.
The lawsuit against 3M alleges that these Combat Arms earplugs are defectively designed – too short to insert properly and prone to loosen, in turn exposing product users to hearing damage. 3M denies that the product is defectively designed or causes injuries to the product’s users.
These trials are the just a peek into what this MDL might hold as far as number of cases. Once the bellwether trials are completed, we will learn more about how this litigation might grow. To stay up-to-date on the latest industry news, follow our blog below.