Texas military service members who have experienced hearing loss issues may be entitled to compensation from 3M, the maker of military earplugs. All four branches of the U.S. military used the Combat Arms Earplugs manufactured by 3M, which were found to be ineffective. Due to the number of plaintiffs in the case, the court has granted a multi-district litigation class-action lawsuit.
What is multi-district litigation?
Multi-district litigation is a term used to describe the consolidation of complex cases against the same defendant or defendants. Because these cases affect a large number of people who suffered similar injuries, it helps to simplify the number of cases going through the federal court system by granting multi-district litigation. Overall, this aids in fostering consistent rulings on the large number of cases.
Bellwether trials may lead to a global class-action settlement
In multi-district litigation, the ruling judge selects multiple individual plaintiffs to go to trial. These are called bellwether trials, and they’re used to determine the likely outcome of all the remaining cases. Typically, if the plaintiffs win the majority of the bellwether trials, the product manufacturer will settle for a lump sum of money. This is called a global class-action settlement that all plaintiffs are entitled to.
The 3M earplugs case is comprised of nearly 230,000 claimants. This large number of plaintiffs makes this the biggest multi-district litigation in the history of the United States. If 3M is found guilty of negligence, this class-action suit will likely lead to one of the largest settlements ever seen.
When a large number of claimants sue a defendant for damages from similar injuries, it’s referred to as a class-action lawsuit that undergoes multi-district litigation. In the case of 3M, plaintiffs’ attorneys contend that Combat Arms Earplugs failed at providing their intended purpose. Only time will tell if and how much 3M could pay in a settlement amount to victims.