The number of individual claims alleging that 3M Company knowingly sold defective earplugs to the U.S. military more than doubled in the second half of 2019 after a judicial panel established the 3M Combat Arms earplug multidistrict litigation (MDL) in April. The 1,220 related lawsuits that the 3M Company faced in July ballooned to 2,663 claims as of November, Drug Watch reports.
Meanwhile, the number of consumers who claim they developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma after having been exposed to Roundup weed killer for an extended period of time more than tripled between January and November 2019. Fewer than 700 cases in the Roundup products liability litigation MDL grew to 2,562 lawsuits by November 2019, and a more recent disclosure indicates there are tens of thousands more.
The takeaway here is that:
- The numbers indicate the validity of the 3M earplugs hearing loss and Roundup exposure cancer claims, and
- If you have been injured by these products, you may still be entitled to seek compensation, too.
The product liability attorneys of Hardison & Cochran in Raleigh, N.C., can help North Carolina veterans seek justice from 3M for hearing loss and ringing in the ears caused by defective military-issued earplugs. Our attorneys can help landscapers, gardeners and others who have used Roundup weed killer and been diagnosed with cancer. We can review the specifics of the harm that you have suffered and discuss your legal rights. If we believe that you have a valid claim, we can file a lawsuit on your behalf.
The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can begin gathering information to support your product liability claim.
A jury has awarded $2 billion (since reduced) in a single Roundup lawsuit and 3M has agreed to pay $9.1 million to settle government claims for defective earplugs. More litigation is expected. Please contact Hardison & Cochran today for a free review of your case and potential claim.
What is MDL — Multidistrict Litigation?
Both the Roundup weed killer cancer cases and the 3M military earplug hearing loss cases have been combined as separate multidistrict litigation proceedings (MDLs).
MDLs allow the courts to handle multiple overlapping lawsuits more efficiently during the pre-trial phase by centralizing them before a single judge. Such cases are typically assigned to a federal district court near the defendant’s corporate headquarters or according to geographic origin.
MDLs are made up of mass tort cases. A mass tort is a type of litigation that consists of a large number of individual plaintiffs who demand compensation for injuries related to a specific allegedly defective or dangerous product or a single incident (such as a plane crash).
After a trial, individual cases may be tried separately later in their original state jurisdictions. MDLs are considered bellwether trials. Their outcomes are believed to indicate how juries are likely to respond to similar cases.
After one or more verdicts against the defendant in multidistrict litigation, the defendant’s corporate board frequently becomes more interested in negotiating a settlement that can be applied to all claims.
What’s the Latest on 3M Military Earplug Lawsuits?
In January 2020, 3M Company won a request to have lawsuits filed by nearly 40 U.S. veterans moved to federal court in Minnesota, home of 3M (formerly the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company). The lawsuits represent more than 1,700 individuals, according to the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, Minn.
The claim against 3M is that its dual-ended Combat Arms™ Earplugs Version 2 (CAEV2) were too short to maintain a tight seal in the ear canal and could loosen imperceptibly while inserted in some users’ ears, rendering them useless as hearing protection. Because of the earplugs’ alleged design flaw, some military personnel developed hearing loss, tinnitus, ringing in the ears and loss of balance.
The CAEV2 was originally a product of Aearo Technologies, Inc., which the 3M Company acquired in 2008. Aearo Technologies was the exclusive supplier of around 15,000 earplug packages (50 pairs in each package) every year to the Defense Logistics Agency from 2006 through 2015.
The green and yellow earplugs were used by thousands of service members to protect their hearing during combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan or during training exercises stateside.
In the summer of 2018, 3M agreed to pay U.S. military branches $9.1 million to settle government allegations that the company supplied defective earplugs. 3M did not admit guilt. But that settlement opened the door for individual veterans to sue 3M and Aearo.
In the lawsuit settled in 2018, the U.S. government alleged that 3M and Aearo Technologies knew the earplugs were defective and did not disclose the design defect to the military.
The Justice Department news release also notes that the defect in the 3M earplugs became known due to a whistleblower lawsuit.
Under provisions of the False Claims Act, private parties may sue on behalf of the government when they believe defendants have submitted false claims for government money and may share in any recovery. The whistleblower in the 3M claim was to receive $1.9 million, the Justice Department said.
What’s the Latest on Monsanto Roundup Weed Killer Cancer Claims?
A Bloomberg News report in mid-January suggested that a comprehensive settlement could be near in more than 75,000 cancer claims related to use of the Roundup herbicide.
Bayer AG, the parent company of Roundup manufacturer Monsanto, said in its third-quarter report that it was facing 42,700 legal claims. Court-appointed mediator Ken Feinberg told Bloomberg that the caseload had grown to between 75,000 and 85,000 potential plaintiffs.
Feinberg said he remained cautiously optimistic that a settlement agreement would be reached, according to Bloomberg. He declined to discuss terms of the possible settlement.
“After losing three trials in California that resulted in combined damages of $191 million, Bayer said in December that it agreed to postpone some Roundup trials to give mediation a chance, and at least a half-dozen trials scheduled to start this month and next have been put on hold,” the Bloomberg report says.
The lawsuits claim that Monsanto knew that the herbicide glyphosate in Roundup was hazardous to humans but failed to adequately warn consumers of the health risks. Several different juries that were provided scientific evidence as part of lawsuit trials have found that Monsanto should pay significant compensation to individuals who used Roundup on a regular basis and later developed cancer.
Contact Hardison & Cochran 3M Earplug and Monsanto Roundup Lawyers Today
Even with a court-approved settlement, injured plaintiffs must be able to prove their cases according to settlement rules in a mass tort product liability case. If you are a consumer who has developed lymphoma after long-term use of Roundup weed killer or a veteran who used military-supplied 3M earplugs and suffered hearing loss, our attorneys want to talk to you. We may be able to help you obtain money through a product liability claim.
Hardison & Cochran is a highly regarded North Carolina personal injury firm with offices in Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, Dunn, Greensboro, Southern Pines and Wilmington. A legal consultation with an attorney at Hardison & Cochran is free and will help you understand your legal options. Contact us now.