Judge Orders Mediation In Massive 3M Earplug Litigation

 Thursday, June 30, 2022


Military veterans suing Maplewood-based 3M claim the company’s Combat Arms earplugs were defective, causing hearing loss and tinnitus. 3M maintains the products were safe.

After 16 bellwether trials failed to resolve a massive legal battle, a federal judge has ordered mediation between attorneys for 3M and military veterans who claim the company’s earplugs were defective.

Casey Rodgers, a U.S. District Court judge for northern Florida, on June 10 appointed a special master to mediate a settlement. The mediation session -- which will last at least three days -- is slated to begin July 15.

"After three years of intense litigation, this matter has come to a critical juncture," Rodgers wrote. Without a settlement, she wrote, the entire federal judiciary will be strained by the sheer volume of earplug cases, which number 233,883 as of June 10.

"The amount of judicial resources required to handle this number of cases is staggering," she wrote.