Mass Torts to Watch in 2022

After a pandemic-induced quiet year in 2020, last year saw a lot of action on the mass tort front. In 2021, we saw $11 billion in Roundup settlements and over a dozen bellwether test trials in various MDL class action lawsuits.

It appears 2022 will be a very eventful year for mass torts. We could see global settlements in two or maybe three major mass tort MDLs, including the biggest of them all, the 3M Earplugs MDL.

Let’s talk about what we can expect in 2022 in the mass tort class action lawsuits with the highest predicted settlement payouts.

3M loses latest in series of military earplug cases

A $22.5 million jury verdict against 3M is the largest penalty yet in a series of trials over allegedly defective earplugs manufactured by the Maplewood-based company.

A federal jury in Tallahassee, Fla., late last week ruled in favor of Theodore Finley, who served in the U.S. Army from 2006 to 2014. Finley alleged that he developed bilateral tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss while wearing 3M-made earplugs as he worked around weapon fire, generators, mechanized vehicles, helicopters and during training and combat.

It was the eighth ruling in a series of bellwether trials against the company, and the fifth where the plaintiff prevailed. Three juries rejected all claims against 3M.

The trials are part of what may be the largest U.S. mass tort ever, with more than 250,000 veterans

Bellwether Military Earplug Verdicts Underscores Importance of Establishing Government-Contractor Defense

In the most recent round of the long-running litigation over hearing protection supplied by manufacturing giant 3M and used by U.S. Military personnel from 2002 until 2015, Plaintiffs have obtained large verdicts in 3 out of 4 bellwether cases against 3M.

In July 2018, 3M reached a $9.1-million settlement with the Department of Justice in a False Claims Act lawsuit. Subsequently, hundreds of thousands of individual claims followed in courts across the United State, with Plaintiffs alleging that 3M’s Combat Arms Earplugs (Version 2) were defective. In April 2019, the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered that all earplug lawsuits against 3M pending in federal district courts would be transferred to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida (the

3M Wins Lawsuit Over Military-Issued Earplugs

A federal jury in Florida sided with earplug manufacturer 3M that the company’s product did not cause hearing loss for a veteran who used them while serving in the military.

The trial was the second of three scheduled this year that could impact the outcome of a lawsuit involving nearly 236,000 veterans who were issued the earplugs while in the service.

3M, a Minnesota-based company, lost the first trial April in which a jury awarded $7.1 million to three Army veterans who said they suffered from hearing loss and tinnitus because of the earplugs. The second trial involved one veteran, Dustin McCombs, with a similar lawsuit.

The jury on Friday determined 3M was not liable, negligent or fraudulent when selling earplugs to the military, according to court documents.

3M hit with $6MM punitive damages by U.S. jury in first combat earplug trial

3M Co was found liable on Friday for hearing damage suffered by three U.S. military veterans who accused the company of covering up design defects in its earplugs, a blow to 3M which faces more than 200,000 similar claims.

The jury awarded each of the plaintiffs $2.1 million in punitive damages and a total of $830,500 in compensatory damages for their medical expenses, lost earnings and pain and suffering.

The company was accused of hiding design flaws, fudging test results and failing to instruct the military in proper use of the earplugs, which were used by the Army between 2007 and 2013.

“The evidence is clear: 3M knew their earplugs were defective, yet they allowed our servicemembers to suffer these life-altering injuries,” said a statement

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