Looking at Status Updates for Mass Torts

Mass tort cases are ways to bring a lawsuit against a single entity. The cases all have a similar basis and consist of multiple plaintiffs who share a similar trauma of one kind or another. They differ substantially from class actions in that they do not have one plaintiff filing a single lawsuit for other people with the awards divided among them evenly. Alternately, in a mass tort, each plaintiff will be awarded damages consistent with their injury and subsequent damages.

Since mass tort cases can take a long time, even years, to settle or win, updates are needed from time to time. Here, we will update the status of some lawsuits currently pending.

3M Earplugs

Former and active military personnel filed the biggest federal mass lawsuit against 3M for loss of auditory function due to defective earplugs. The plaintiffs said that the manufacturer knew about the defects but hid them. The company knew the earplugs were defective if they were not used correctly and failed to warn users about it. Because of this, 139,000 lawsuits were filed in the Northern Florida district court. In short, the stems of the earplugs were short and could not adequately protect the user although they were standard issues for military service members in 2003.

The mass tort cases were filed against Aearo Technologies, which 3 M bought in 2008. A $9.1 million award was handed over to the Department of Defense in 2018. In 2021, a third trial resulted in a $1.7 million award to a military veteran for 3Ms part in not warning the plaintiff, causing tinnitus. However, the jury found that the person was 38 percent liable for his injuries. Notably, this rejects the claim that the units were inherently defective.

Elmiron Mass Tort

This drug is used to treat interstitial cystitis of the bladder. It was put out by Janssen Pharmaceuticals and led to degenerative eye disease. The company did not warn patients about the possibility of developing this eye condition after using Elmiron.

Furthermore, several medical centers including Emory, Harvard, and Keiser Permanente reported that Elmiron could cause maculopathy, resulting in the loss of central vision. Use of the drug over 15 years and dosage of 1500 mg over seven years caused significant damage in 24 and 41 percent of patients respectively. Regular status meetings are ongoing to deal with discovery and evidence gatherings.


Paraquat is a weed killer produced by Chevron and Syngenta Group as Gramoxone. Its use is banned in China, Brazil and other countries as a toxic agent. It is approved by the FDA in the United States for commercial use only. Being exposed to Paraquat can cause Parkinson’s disease. Lawsuits alleged that Paraquat had design defects and manufacturers did not warn consumers. In 2021, the lawsuits were grouped into an MDL (multidistrict litigation) in the Illinois Southern District. In 2021, additional cases were added. The initial trial is set tentatively for November 2022.


Ranitidine (Zantac) was recalled in 2020 because it contains cancer-causing substances. About 15 million people were using the drug in the U.S. with many others using generic versions. When examined it was found that Zantac contained three million nanograms of NDMA, a cancer-causing substance instead of the safer 96 nanograms.

Some plaintiffs had taken the drug for several years and were stricken with cancer while others did not develop it but were fearful they would in the future. The company, Sanofi, took umbrage at the latter group of patients and said no actual harm had occurred. This move was opposed by the plaintiffs.

Hernia Mesh

Hernia mesh is used to allow the tissues around a hernia repair to heal easier as they grow into the mesh. In fact, 90 percent of repairs use the hernia mesh. However, it was found that the hernia mesh also caused pain, infection, bowel obstruction and reoccurrence of the hernia with the need for additional surgery. Pending trials are forthcoming.

Olinde Law Firm

If you are injured by a defective product, contact the Olinde Law Firm for help. We can be reached at (800) 587-1889 or online. We will set up a free case review, where we will answer your questions and give you your options going forward.