Recently, there has been significant progress made in the 3M Defective Earplug litigation. On April 3rd, 2019 the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation, or JPML, decided to consolidate all of the pending cases into what is known as a multi-district litigation (MDL). The purpose of an MDL is to coordinate widespread litigation that is filed in multiple districts. These lawsuits are often complex and affect a large group of people. As a result of the JPML decision, all lawsuits pending in federal court against 3M alleging that the plaintiff suffered hearing loss and/or tinnitus as a result of the use of the defective 3M dual-sided earplugs that it exclusively supplied to the military have been centralized into the Northern District of Florida before Judge M. Casey Rodgers.
Judge M. Casey Rodgers was born in Pensacola, Florida in 1964. From 1985-1987 she served in the United States Army. Thereafter, she obtained her Bachelors and Law Degree. Judge M. Casey Rodgers was nominated by President George W. Bush in 2003 for her seat on United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida. She was confirmed by the United States Senate in October of 2003 and became the first women to ever be appointed in the district's history. She will preside over the consolidated 3M litigation from her Pensacola, Florida Chambers. This will not be Judge Rogers's first multidistrict litigation - most recently she was appointed to oversee the Abilify litigation which resulted in a confidential settlement.
Judge Rodgers has hit the ground running, issuing five orders in the last three weeks. The orders are posted on the court's webpage devoted to the 3M MDL. Over the next several weeks, there will be meetings to appoint the plaintiff's leadership committees. The attorneys on these committees will further organize the lawyers representing the military service members that have filed cases to effectively conduct discovery against 3M. The discovery will lead to the production of documents, depositions and expert reports that will document what 3M did with respect to the design, testing, sale, and marketing of the dual-sided earplugs to the US Military. Simultaneously, Judge Rodgers will be encouraging the attorneys for the parties to engage in settlement negotiations. After this process is completed, if a settlement has not been reached, the judge will schedule trials of individual cases, called Bellwether Trials, to provide further guidance on settlement and trial of the individual cases in the event that a global settlement cannot be reached.
If you or a loved one has suffered hearing loss or tinnitus as a result of using the 3M Dual-Sided Earplugs while serving in the United States Military, please contact our office at 212-566-1000 to speak to an attorney that can help you.