The claims of over 300,000 veterans who allege their use of CAEv2 earplugs during their military careers have been placed on hold after Aearo Technologies, a subsidiary of 3M Company and the original maker of the earplugs, filed for bankruptcy. Aearo Technologies filed for bankruptcy on July 26, 2022, and said it had committed $1 billion to resolve litigating arising out of the use of their earplugs. Notably, days before the filing, Aearo Technologies entered into an agreement to indemnify 3M for all liability related to CAEv2. Both companies – Aearo Technologies and 3M – now argue that the earplug cases should be resolved in bankruptcy court.
These cases are currently consolidated into multidistrict litigation before U.S. District Judge M. Case Rodgers in Pensacola, Florida. The MDL is in re 3M Combat Arms Earplug Products Liability Litigation, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida, No. 19-md-2885. In a briefing filed in Indianapolis bankruptcy court, Aearo Technologies and 3M openly criticized Judge Rodgers’ rulings and handling of the MDL. Incredibly, 3M has called the MDL “broken beyond repair.” There have been sixteen (16) trials involving nineteen (19) veterans, with ten (10) verdicts coming in favor of plaintiffs totaling around $265 million in combined awards to thirteen (13) plaintiffs. The brave men and women of the United States military, many of whom suffered hearing loss and tinnitus as a result of using 3M’s CAEv2 deserve better than these shenanigans. The lawyers at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner stand with these veterans and will continue to fight their fight in whatever legal battlefield they encounter.