This spring, the first round of bellwether trials in the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs mass tort litigation came to an end in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida. Bellwether trials are exemplar cases that are tried to conclusion in front of juries to allow the parties to gain some insight as to how other cases included in Mass Tort Multi-District Litigations (“MDLs”) might be perceived by juries. MDLs are sets of similar cases grouped together for central management by one judge.
This first round of bellwether cases involved 19 plaintiffs. A number of judges were assigned to and heard the various bellwether trials which resulted in 13 plaintiffs’ verdicts and 6 defense verdicts. While the first round of trials has been informative for all involved, there are nearly 300,000 cases pending and much to learn with significant remaining discovery between the parties. To help move things along, the primary judge overseeing the MDL, Judge M. Casey Rodgers, has begun ordering sets of cases (“waves”) for additional case-specific discovery. These waves, which require both sides to conduct pretrial discovery in thousands of cases, provide additional information to the parties and create more analytical data than the bellwether trials alone.
In addition to encouraging the continued exchange of information between the parties, Judge Rodgers ordered 3M and the plaintiffs’ executive committee to participate in a mediation scheduled to begin on or before July 15, 2022. Given the amount of information that has already been exchanged between the parties, Judge Rodgers feels that it is practicable to visit settlement of these cases in an effort to relieve the massive burden this litigation is causing and will continue to cause the Federal Courts. Whether or not mediation will be productive remains to be seen .
SUGARMAN represents armed forces veterans in the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida and investigates and persecutes claims for veterans who have suffered injuries from the use of defective products in MDLs across the country. If you have questions about these claims or think you may be entitled to compensation, speak to SUGARMAN principal David McCormack today by calling 617-542-1000 or email him at email@example.com.