The mass tort case against the Maplewood, Minnesota-based 3M from claimants alleging that its earplugs were “knowingly defective” and caused them to have hearing loss and tinnitus, will begin March 29, according to an article in the Star Tribune.
The trial will take place in a federal courthouse in Pensacola, Fla, with Judge M. Casey Rodgers presiding, the Tribune reports. Nearly 230,000 claims are included in the tort, a number that “dwarfs most mass torts.”
In a 2018 settlement with the US Military, 3M paid $9.1 million to settle claims that the company violated the False Claims Act, also known as “Lincoln’s Law,” in selling the dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2) with a known defect that wasn’t disclosed. In the suit, the military alleged that the earplugs were too short for insertion and that they may have loosened imperceptibly in some user’s ears, causing them to leak noise and be ineffective. 3M did not admit liability, according to the Tribune
The Combat earplugs were acquired by 3M as part of its $1.2 billion purchase of Aearo Technologies in 2008. The earplugs were discontinued by 3M in 2015.
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Source: Star Tribune