Favorable Judge Chosen to Hear 3M Earplug Lawsuits
U.S. Federal judge, M. Casey Rodgers, was selected this week to hear approximately 640 Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) cases against 3M in the Northern District of Florida where she was appointed in 2003 by George W. Bush. She is the first woman to have been appointed to Florida’s Northern District and is no stranger to mass torts, having recently finished overseeing 2,000 cases against makers of Ability, Otsuka and Bristol-Meyers Squibb, where plaintiffs alleged the drug caused them to behave in uncontrollable, compulsive and destructive ways.
Perhaps the biggest clue in the selection of Judge Rodgers is her veteran status, having served two years in the U.S. Army. Furthermore, Pensacola has had a significant military presence dating back to the early 18th century. Defendant 3M accused the plaintiff of “forum shopping” and selecting venues “with a large military presence or in front of a judge with military experience.”
Although the number of plaintiffs in the MDL stands at 640, many believe tens of thousands more will file lawsuits. Some figures estimate the number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who have suffered hearing loss attributed to the defective design of the CAEv2 at as many as 800,000.
3M continues to deny any wrongdoing even after the $9.1 million settlement they reached in July 2018 with the U.S. government.