Thousands of military veterans are filing lawsuits against 3M. For decades, the American multinational conglomerate corporation sold its Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 to the U.S. government for use by active military service members.

Veterans are now responding to the fact that the 3M devices are defective, resulting in hearing problems that the earplugs were supposed to thwart, and that the manufacturer knew about these defects and did not warn the public about them. The 3M defective earplug lawsuits further allege that 3M behaved in an unlawfully deceptive manner with its fitting instructions and testing procedures.


Because so many veterans had filed complaints against 3M for their defective earplugs, a federal Judicial Panel decided on April 3, 2019 to centralize all the cases that had been filed in districts around the country and transfer them to a single Multidistrict Litigation Court.

The decision to transfer was based on the Panel’s acknowledgment that all the pending actions against 3M posed the same questions of fact: that the defendant sold earplugs to the government for use by the plaintiffs, fully knowing that the devices were defective, and ultimately causing hearing loss and other ear-related problems for the plaintiffs.

The same issues and questions of fact about the “design, testing, sale, and marketing” of 3M’s Combat Arms Earplugs would have been presented, argued, and resolved in pretrial hearings across all cases. As such, it made sense for the Judicial Panel to group the cases for the purpose of pretrial efforts and promote an avoidance of case backlog.

All parties in the cases will enjoy greater efficiency because the process of discovery will be handled once, with consistent results across all cases. The same arguments regarding evidence admissibility and other pretrial issues will not need to be made repeatedly. From an economic standpoint, by grouping the cases for the purpose of pretrial motions, both parties, as well as the judiciary, benefit from better use of their resources.

As a result, the 3M Combat Arms Earplug Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2885, was transferred to the United States District Court Northern District of Florida for pretrial proceedings.


The Transfer Order executing the MDL appropriation specified that eight legal actions had been filed in four districts when the Order was issued. The actions named in the Order are as follows:

  • Central District of California

KENNEDY v. 3M COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 5:19-00128

  • District of Minnesota

CIACCIO v. 3M COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 0:19-00179

PEEK v. 3M COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 0:19-00192

LARKIN v. 3M COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 0:19-00194

PULLIUM v. 3M COMPANY, ET AL., C.A. No. 0:19-00603

  • Western District of Oklahoma

STINE v. 3M COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:19-00058

WERNER v. 3M COMPANY, C.A. No. 5:19-00059

  • Western District of Texas

ROWE v. 3M COMPANY, C.A. No. 6:19-00019

Six hundred thirty-five federal actions had been filed in 33 districts when the Transfer Order was set in motion.


When multiple, complex, federal civil cases share a common set of questions of fact, a Judicial Panel may elect to transfer all the cases to one federal district court. The Multidistrict Litigation Court (MLC), as this court is called, exists to streamline all the pretrial proceedings in the collection of federal cases for the purpose of efficiency, economy, and consistency.

The MLC handles all pretrial proceedings. It can authorize settlements of some cases, and it can dismiss other cases. The cases that are left over MLC sends back to the court where they were originally filed, where they will proceed with a trial. According to the American Bar Association, few cases are actually remanded back to their original forum.

If you or a loved one suffered hearing loss or other hearing-related issues after using 3M Combat Arms earplugs, you may qualify to file a 3M defective earplug lawsuit or join ongoing multidistrict litigation. A 3M defective earplugs lawsuit lawyer at Zanes Law can help you recover the compensation you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation: (833)-890-8329.

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