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Buy 3m Ear Plugs !!BETTER!!

January 20, 2023 Update: On Wednesday, the Judge in the 3M earplugs MDL canceled the court-sponsored earplug settlement mediation that had continued intermittently for the last year and a half.

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December 4, 2022 Update: Ever since 3M had its subsidiary, Aearo Technologies, file bankruptcy, the proceedings in the 3M earplugs class action MDL have been frozen by an automatic stay.

November 1, 2022 Update: The judge in the 3M earplugs MDL is expected to rule very soon on the pivotal issue of whether 3M can be held solely and independently liable for the earplugs developed by its subsidiary Aero (which is filing bankruptcy).

The 3M earplugs MDL is the biggest consolidated mass tort in history, but until now it has been off the radar. 3M has used anonymity to its advantage because it has not had to deal with the intense external pressure of investors pushing for a resolution. The bright spotlight of the WSJ story could end that.

On Friday, 3M Earplugs MDL Judge Casey Rodgers issued an Order requiring the parties to participate in settlement mediation. The Order appoints Randi S. Ellis as the special master to oversee the negotiations and required that the mediation last a minimum of three days and be scheduled by July 15, 2022.

In her Order, Judge Rodgers explained that a settlement would help relieve the federal court system of the massive burden that the earplugs cases will present moving forward. There are currently about 233,000 cases in the MDL (down from the high of 282,902) and these cases will soon be returned to their home districts for trial in massive blocks of 500 lawsuits at a time.

On the 3rd day of trial, the plaintiffs presented the testimony of Elliott Berger. If you are following this litigation, Berger needs no introduction. Berger was in the middle of every key piece of the relevant facts. Now retired, he was the former head of the 3M Personal Safety Division and an audiology scientist. Berger was personally involved in the development and testing of the Combat Arms earplugs.

March 30, 2022 Update: Day 2 of the Denise Kelley trial featured 7 hours of testimony from Elliott Berger. Berger is a former 3M scientist and division head (now retired) who was part of the team that originally designed and developed the Combat Arms Earplugs. His testimony has been used to establish that the earplugs were defective and that this design flaw was not communicated to the military. Berger has testified in all of the bellwether trials.

March 22, 2022 Update: Plaintiff Steven Wilkerson closed his case yesterday and 3M immediately filed a motion for judgment as a matter of law. The motion argues that Wilkerson failed to establish that his hearing loss was caused by the 3M earplugs. 3M also argues that punitive damages should be off the table. 3M has filed similar motions in all of the previous bellwether trials and all of them have been denied. We fully expect the same result in this case.

Monday was a day off from the MLK holiday. The trial resumed on Tuesday. Friday morning (January 14, 2022) was Day 5. This trial day mostly involved the testimony of Richard McKinley, a key expert for soldiers in the 3M earplug lawsuits on why the earplugs were defective.

December 20, 2021 Update: Another bellwether test trial concluded last week in the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs litigation. The trial resulted in another defense verdict for 3M as the jury found that the plaintiff, Carlos Montero, failed to prove that his hearing loss was the result of defects in the 3M earplugs. This victory for 3M follows its biggest loss in the earplug bellwether trials. Just a week earlier, a jury in Tallahassee awarded $22.5 million in the 8th bellwether trial, the largest verdict to date. In nine bellwether trials, the plaintiffs have won 5 times and 3M has won 4 times. Two more test trials are set for January 2022.

The 6th was a different story. A Tallahassee jury awarded the plaintiff $13.1 million in damages. This marked the largest and most impactful verdict in the 3M earplugs litigation because it included over $12 million in punitive damages.

There have now been 7 bellwether test trials in the 3M earplugs litigation. 3M claimed defense victories in Rounds 2, 5, and 6. The plaintiffs scored victories in the other Rounds. If we were keeping score by Rounds, the plaintiffs would be ahead 4 to 3. Keeping score by Rounds is somewhat misleading, however, because Round 1 included the consolidated trial of 3 plaintiffs.

There have now been 7 rounds of bellwether trials involving 9 plaintiffs in the 3M earplugs litigation. 3 of the 9 plaintiffs lost and were awarded $0 damages. The 6 plaintiffs who won their cases have been awarded damages totaling $29,429,925.

The Department of Justice announced today that 3M Company (3M), headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, has agreed to pay $9.1 million to resolve allegations that it knowingly sold the dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2) to the United States military without disclosing defects that hampered the effectiveness of the hearing protection device.

In 2016, Moldex-Metric, Inc., a California-based competitor, filed a whistleblower lawsuit against 3M claiming that 3M had been selling defective earplugs, knowing that they did not meet the standards for protection required by the government.

The lawsuit claimed the defective earplugs were likely responsible for significant hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing or other noise in the ear) experienced by thousands of soldiers. In 2018, 3M agreed to pay $9.1 million to the Department of Justice to resolve the allegations without admitting liability.

After the settlement with the federal government, individual service members began filing lawsuits against 3M alleging they wore the defective earplugs that caused them to develop hearing loss and/or tinnitus. There are currently more than 230,000 military service members or veterans suing 3M.

The allegedly defective 3M earplugs were the result of a collaboration between U.S. military representatives and Aearo in the late 1990s before 3M acquired the company. The result was the second version of the Combat Arms Earplug (CAEv2).

CAEv2 was designed to eliminate the need for soldiers to carry two different sets of earplugs. They are dual-ended earplugs that if worn one way are supposed to block sound like traditional earplugs and if worn in reverse are to block only certain types of loud battlefield noise while allowing the wearer to hear softer, closer sounds.

It is because of the military input into the design of the earplugs that 3M has tried (unsuccessfully) to use the government-contractor defense to absolve the company from liability even if the earplugs are found to be defective.

The plaintiffs that have been successful in the 3M earplug lawsuit test cases tend to have longer service records and significant exposure to combat noise while wearing the CAEv2 earplugs. Many have been successful in arguing that 3M knew or should have known about the defect and failed to warn the service members about it.

The fact that punitive damage awards have been very large in several of the winning cases suggests that juries believe 3M at the very least demonstrated indifference to the risk posed to service members who relied on the defective earplugs for hearing protection.

There may still be time to file a lawsuit against 3M for injury caused by the CAEv2 earplugs. The time period for bringing claims against 3M is governed by state law and varies by state. It is best to consult a local attorney about the applicable statute of limitations for a particular state.

Because the 3M earplug lawsuit is so big and involves so many active and former service members, certain law firms throughout the U.S. are focusing on representing those injured. Persons who believe they have been injured due to the CAEv2 earplugs can search for attorneys in a given state that are handling 3M earplug claims.

To find those finalists, our own Brent Butterworth tested more than a dozen different earplugs with a cutting-edge ear and cheek simulator and measurement rig from G.R.A.S. This testing process allowed us to determine objectively how much sound each earplug reduced. Turns out that despite having similar appearances and materials, different earplugs reduce different amounts of noise.

So we were curious whether some earplugs might do a better (or worse) job with certain sounds. Would an earplug with a good average NRR but an emphasis on attenuation of bass frequencies be a bad choice for someone wanting to block the sound of conversation? Would an earplug with a lower NRR perhaps be better for our purposes than one with a higher NRR because it attenuates better in the snoring frequencies?

Unlike previous pinna simulators, the KB5000 has a realistic ear canal shape; previous simulated pinnae ended in round holes. Thus, the tests we conducted with the KB5000 gave a result closer to what a person with an average-size ear would experience with the earplugs we tried. Using a test fixture instead of live human subjects made it possible for us to experiment with different test signals and conditions until we got consistent and meaningful results.

We connected the 43AG (which is essentially a specialized, high-precision microphone) to an Audiomatica Clio 10 FW audio analyzer and to an M-Audio MobilePre USB interface used with TrueRTA spectrum analyzer software. Then we measured the noise-reduction capabilities of 25 different earplugs.

To measure the effects of the earplugs, we first ran frequency-response measurements. We played unsynchronized pink noise signals (which contain the sound of the entire audio spectrum, from the deepest bass to the highest treble) through four speakers and a subwoofer mounted in the test lab, and used TrueRTA to see how evenly each earplug reduced noise across the whole sonic spectrum. This way, we could see if an earplug was attenuating more bass than treble, or vice versa. 041b061a72


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