On May 20, a Pensacola jury ruled in favor of the plaintiff in the last scheduled bellwether trial in the Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) litigation.
As the litigation progresses, it’s important to know the facts about the course of this MDL:
- Every third-party, independent laboratory that has tested the CAEv2 found the product to be safe and effective. 3M continues to work with the U.S. military to this day to provide high-quality hearing protection products.
- The MDL record affirms our confidence in our defense and illustrates that even cases selected for bellwether trials do not necessarily represent meritorious or compensable claims.
- We have been prevented from sharing relevant evidence in the trial – an issue we are addressing, among others, in our appeals. A favorable appellate ruling could significantly alter the progression and outcome of this litigation.
- We still don’t know how many plaintiffs’ cases will transition from the administrative docket to the active docket, let alone have merit. Simply multiplying the number of cases on the docket by previous verdicts overestimates the total exposure.
- This process is a marathon. Our successful defense verdicts as well as the eight cases plaintiffs’ lawyers dismissed before reaching trial, the issues that will be decided on appeal, and the diminishing size of the administrative docket all encourage us as we continue defending our record in the next phase of this litigation.
What happens next
3M has and will continue to file appeals of adverse decisions, which will be briefed and argued over the next 12-18 months.
In addition, per Judge Rodgers’ ruling in August 2021, all claims on the administrative docket must be moved to the active litigation docket or dismissed without prejudice. There are 1,000 additional cases that are currently being prepared for trial, and an additional 500 cases may be added. These cases will ultimately be transferred to the district courts where they originated. They are supposed to be prepared for trial in waves of 500, and the first two waves are in process.
Finally, cases focusing on non-military plaintiffs will begin in state court in Hennepin County, Minnesota in late August 2022.