3M Heading Back to the Settlement Table in 2023

The repeated attempts by 3M to declare bankruptcy have once again failed, forcing them to go to the settlement table and allowing lawsuits to go forward so those who were injured can recover compensation because of their defective earplugs. Veterans injured by the 3M earplug have the option of placing a claim against the company to recover damages or filing a disability claim with the Veterans Administration. 

Background of 3’s Bankruptcy Attempts

Earlier in the year, Aearo Technologies, a subsidiary of 3M, filed for bankruptcy. Aearo specialized in making the defective earplug and other safety equipment and was acquired by 3M in 2008. By declaring bankruptcy of this subsidiary, 3M attempted to avoid litigation itself with regard to the defective earplugs.

In July 2022, lawyers for 3M argued that the bankruptcy of its subsidiary was necessary because the proceedings in the case were broken and could not be repaired because of bogus claims of hearing loss caused by the 3M earplug. Judge Casey Rogers responded that 3M was perfectly solvent and could not declare bankruptcy like their subsidiary just because the multidistrict litigation wasn’t going the way they wanted. The subsidiary company filed for bankruptcy right after settlement mediation. 

Proceedings Halted in Aearo Technologies Bankruptcy Case

Proceedings in the case were brought to a halt on August 1, 2022, when a bankruptcy stay was granted to Aearo. This meant that proceedings could not continue against Aearo but could against 3M. Lawyers for 3M responded by asking that the protection extend to the parent company.

Court Awaits Bankruptcy Ruling to Include Protection for 3M in Earplug Injury Cases

On August 4, 2022, Judge Casey Rogers ordered inactive pending cases involving the 3M earplug from being transferred to active because of recent developments. This referred to 3M’s attempt to convince the Indiana court to include the parent company in protection against defective earplug lawsuits along with Aearo. On August 11, 2022, Judge Rogers listened to veterans’ arguments on how the bankruptcy should not let 3M stop litigation in the defective earplugs cases. 

Judge Denies Motion to Make 3M Solely Liable in Earplug Injury Cases

On August 17, the judge in the case denied the plaintiff’s request to make 3M solely liable for the defective earplugs. By doing so, it stopped 3M’s attempt to make the bankrupt subsidiary Aearo solely responsible for the 3M earplug. The judge pointed out that if Aearo took full responsibility and then filed bankruptcy, it would eliminate the ability of those who were injured to join in the multidistrict litigation. The judge referred to the attempted tactic by 3M as “naked duplicity.”

Settlement Mediation Scheduled for July 2023

On August 26, a different judge ruled that 3M could not receive bankruptcy protection. It also ruled the bankruptcy proceedings by Aearo could proceed as well as the lawsuits for the defective earplugs. What that means is that the 3M company has to either offer settlements that are reasonable to those who were injured by the defective earplugs or face multiple jury trials during 2023. 

On September 1, 2020, Judge Rogers ordered 3M to engage in settlement mediation in July 2023. She used the statements made by the company urging that they be allowed to also declare bankruptcy as the reason to return to the settlement table.

Olinde Firm – 3M Combat Earplugs Attorneys

If you suffered hearing loss because you used 3M Combat Earplugs, you may be able to recover compensation. Contact the Olinde Firm at (800) 587-1889 today to schedule a free review of your case, have your questions answered and find out about recovering damages. We can also be reached online.