On June 9, 2023, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Jeffrey Graham dismissed the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case of Aearo Technologies, a wholly owned subsidiary of 3M. The case was filed in July 2022 in an attempt to shield 3M from liability in a mass tort lawsuit alleging that its Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEPs) caused hearing loss in U.S. military veterans and service members.
In his ruling, Judge Graham found that Aearo was not financially distressed and did not meet the requirements for bankruptcy protection. He also found that 3M had not shown that the bankruptcy filing was necessary to protect the interests of its creditors.
The dismissal of the Aearo bankruptcy case is a major victory for veterans and service members who have filed lawsuits against 3M alleging that CAEPs caused their hearing loss. It also sets a precedent that could make it more difficult for other companies to use bankruptcy to shield themselves from liability in mass tort lawsuits.
What Does This Mean for Veterans and Service Members?
The dismissal of the Aearo bankruptcy case is a major victory for veterans and service members who have filed lawsuits against 3M alleging that CAEPs caused their hearing loss. It means that these lawsuits will now proceed in federal court in Pensacola, Florida.
The plaintiffs in these lawsuits are seeking compensation for their hearing loss, as well as for the pain and suffering they have experienced. They are also seeking punitive damages, which are designed to punish 3M for its conduct.
The plaintiffs in these lawsuits have a strong case. They have presented expert testimony that CAEPs were defective and that they caused hearing loss in veterans and service members. They have also presented evidence that 3M knew about the defects in CAEPs but failed to warn users about them.
The dismissal of the Aearo bankruptcy case is a good sign for the plaintiffs in these lawsuits. It means that they will now have their day in court and that they will have a chance to get the justice they deserve.