On Monday, March 29, the federal court in Pensacola, Florida began a jury trial involving three plaintiff cases as part of the ongoing litigation regarding the company’s Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) product. This consolidated trial is the first of three so-called “bellwether trials” regarding the CAEv2 product.
What does this mean?
A bellwether trial is essentially a test case intended to establish a common set of key facts and issues. This is a common practice in multi-district litigation, which, like the MDL here, typically involves many individual plaintiffs and cases. Both 3M and the plaintiffs’ lawyers select potential bellwether cases, and the Court then chooses a set of those cases to be tried. The bellwether trials currently scheduled are just an initial stage of the CAEv2 MDL, and the litigation is expected to continue for some time.
What is 3M’s position?
We are confident in our case and are ready to defend ourselves against plaintiffs’ allegations. As we will demonstrate at trial, the CAEv2 product was effective and safe to use. The company worked in close coordination with the U.S. military on the CAEv2 product, and its design reflected features requested and accepted by individuals acting on the military’s behalf. At all times 3M’s conduct with respect to the CAEv2 product was consistent with the company’s values and longtime commitment to keeping our U.S. military safe.
At 3M, we are committed to using science and innovation to improve lives and solve the world’s biggest challenges, including those faced by the U.S. military. 3M has supplied Combat Arms Earplugs to the U.S. military for more than a decade and continues to do so. We have great respect for the brave men and women who protect us around the world, and their safety is our priority.
What happens next?
We expect this first trial to last through April. The second and third single plaintiff trials are scheduled for May 17-May 28 and June 7-June 18, respectively.