A Florida federal judge overseeing MDL brought by service members and veterans who allege that defective 3M earplugs damaged their hearing sided with two plaintiffs on which states’ laws should apply in their upcoming bellwether trials.

“We are pleased with the court’s decision, and look forward to trial so that service members can hold 3M accountable for the permanent, life-altering hearing damage caused by these defective earplugs,” plaintiffs’ counsel said in a statement.

The five service members and vets were selected for an initial bellwether case pool in the multidistrict litigation, in which they and 220,000 others say 3M Co. and a predecessor, Aearo LLC, supplied CAEv2 earplugs that were defective and didn’t protect against service-related tinnitus and hearing loss.

They claim the earplugs were defective and didn’t come with full and honest warnings. Additionally they say they received the earplugs during their military service, had their hearing measured through military-issue audiograms and were injured during their military training.

Judge Rodgers came to the conclusion that Alaska law should apply because its contacts with the litigation are more substantial than those of Minnesota and Indiana, where some design decisions were made Also, applying Alaska law would most clearly advance that state’s interests by providing a “effective means of redress’ for residents who were tortuously injured in Alaska.”

The MDL includes suits from state courts in California, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Texas, plus more than 600 related actions in more than 30 federal courts.

 

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