Where the 3M Earplug Litigation Stands Following Aearo’s Bankruptcy Filing

Libby Vish, Esq. | VP, Business Development


On July 26, 2022, Aearo Technologies (“Aearo”), a subsidiary of 3M, filed bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Aearo originally manufactured the earplugs that are at the core of the 3M Earplug MDL currently pending in the U.S. District Court, Northern District Florida. The MDL is overseen by U.S. District Judge Casey Rodgers. The bankruptcy filing came on the heels of a court ordered mediation between the parties.

Since Aearo’s filing, plaintiffs have filed several motions in Judge Rodgers’ court to prevent the bankruptcy from disrupting the litigation that was assigned to the Northern District of Florida in 2019. Since that time, Judge Rodgers has overseen the litigation, including 16 trials. The 16 trials have been on behalf of 19 U.S. military veterans. Plaintiffs prevailed in 10 of the 16 trials, recovering over $250 million for 13 plaintiffs.

On Wednesday, August 3, 2022, a veteran plaintiff filed a motion requesting the judge to enter an injunction preventing 3M from taking action to block the veterans from continuing to pursue their claims in the MDL assigned court. The veteran cited an 18th century law to attempt to keep the litigation in its current jurisdiction.

On Thursday, August 4, 2022, another veteran plaintiff filed a motion that over three years of litigation, 3M has failed to raise the defense that it is not liable for its subsidiaries products and cannot argue it now.

Judge Rodgers requested 3M to submit its response to the motions by the afternoon of Tuesday, August 9, 2022. A hearing is set to be held on the motions on Thursday, August 11.

The case is In re: Aearo Technologies LLC et al., case number 1:22-bk-2890, in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

The case is In re: 3M Combat Arms Earplug Products Liability Litigation, case number 3:19-md-02885, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida.

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