Service Members Seek Dismissal of 3M Earplugs Bankruptcy

Service Members Seek Dismissal of 3M Earplugs Bankruptcy

Service members and veterans in 3M earplugs lawsuits have requested a U.S. judge to dismiss 3M subsidiary Aearo Technologies’ bankruptcy. Plaintiffs argue the company is abusing the bankruptcy system to protect itself from 3M earplugs claims. 

3M faces thousands of lawsuits accusing the company of distributing defective earplugs to the U.S. military. Service members and veterans allege the faulty 3M earplugs gave them hearing loss and tinnitus. 

3M Tries Bankruptcy Maneuver to Avoid Lawsuits

In July 2022, 3M revealed a controversial plan to resolve 3M earplugs claims. The company proposed creating a trust of $1 billion to settle all lawsuits while also putting Aearo Technologies in bankruptcy. At this point, 3M earplugs claims had grown into the largest mass tort in history, with over 230,000 lawsuits filed. 

The company claimed its bankruptcy plan would allow a faster and more efficient resolution than the multidistrict litigation (MDL). An MDL is created to organize and handle lawsuits with similar allegations. Several test trials (called bellwether trials) are held in an MDL to help plaintiffs and defendants understand how juries will view these claims. Four years into the 3M earplugs MDL, the company had lost ten out of sixteen trials. These losses resulted in over $200 million in 3M earplugs verdicts. 

Military Members Want Judge to Throw Out 3M Bankruptcy

The company’s $1 billion trust and bankruptcy tactic sparked outrage. 3M earplugs attorneys considered the offer unfair to service members and veterans. While $1 billion seems like a lot, the amount divided between all plaintiffs would only leave roughly $5,000 per person. 

A bankruptcy judge ruled Aearo Technologies’ bankruptcy did not stop lawsuits against 3M. However, 3M is attempting to overrule the judge’s decision. Now, service members and veterans want the judge to end Aearo Technologies’ bankruptcy as well. 

The request comes after a court dismissed Johnson & Johnson’s bankruptcy case. Individuals claim Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products cause ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. With 38,000 lawsuits filed by 2021 and more cases on the way, J&J conjured a plan to halt lawsuits. Like 3M, J&J placed its subsidiary into bankruptcy to settle talcum powder lawsuits. A court determined that J&J and its subsidiary were not in financial distress and did not belong in bankruptcy. 

3M earplugs attorneys accuse 3M of misusing bankruptcy proceedings like J&J to avoid fairly compensating victims. Veterans, lawyers, and even the Justice Department call for 3M earplugs claims to be removed from the bankruptcy court. 

The bankruptcy judge is expected to decide whether to dismiss Aearo Technologies’ bankruptcy case in April. 

The Lake Law Firm Can Help You

If you used 3M’s Combat Arms Version 2 Earplugs and later suffered hearing loss or tinnitus, you may qualify for a 3M earplugs claim. A 3M earplugs attorney from The Lake Law Firm will defend you to recover compensation for your injuries. Don’t hesitate to contact us today to learn how we can fight for you and your rights. 

The Lake Law Firm was founded by Edward J. Lake, Esq., a personal injury lawyer for over 25 years. Our dedicated team of attorneys is committed to seeking justice on behalf of those who have suffered injury or death due to the negligence of others. Our experienced attorneys handle many different types of pharmaceutical drugs, medical devices, and other defective products. The lawyers in our firm have helped collect millions of dollars for their clients. The Lake Law Firm will advocate for you and your rights. Please contact us for a free confidential case evaluation at (888) 525-3529.