SERVICE MEMBERS SEEK HEARING ON 3M EARPLUG SITE
Service members and veterans on Friday told the Florida federal judge overseeing multidistrict litigation over allegedly defective 3M earplugs that the multinational company posted a website about the product that could sway potential jurors.
The service members requested a hearing on the issue, saying 3M apparently paid to have the link to www.3mearplugfacts.com show up at the top of web searches for “Combat Arms Ear Plugs” and “earplugs websites.” Because this version of the earplugs was discontinued in 2015, there’s no doubt the website is “entirely litigation driven,” the service members said.
About 220,000 service members and veterans 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.
The service members said 3M’s website makes arguments that the judge has barred, such as the military was closely involved with the earplug’s design and testing and that it met with all of the military’s specifications.
U.S. District Judge Casey Rodgers issued an order in response to directing 3M to respond to the motion by noon Saturday.
EXPERTS BARRED FROM TESTIFYING IN 3M EARPLUG MDL
A Florida federal judge on Saturday barred two experts for 3M from testifying about the U.S. Army’s hearing program in multidistrict litigation over allegedly defective earplugs, finding that their testimony was based on speculation and hearsay.
Around 220,000 service members and veterans say 3M Co. and a predecessor, Aearo LLC, supplied Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 earplugs that were defective and didn’t protect against service-related tinnitus and hearing loss.
They additionally claim the earplugs didn’t come with full and honest warnings and say they received the earplugs during their military service, had their hearing measured through military-issue audiograms and were injured during their military training.
U.S. District Judge Casey Rodgers said that industrial hygienists Dr. Richard Neitzel and Jennifer Sahmel will not be allowed to testify about the Army’s implementation of its hearing programs, as their opinions are almost totally drawn from anecdotes. Specifically, neither will be allowed to testify about the Army’s implementation of its hearing program or its efficacy. Judge Rodgers found that Neitzel and Sahmel failed to take into account changes the Army made to its hearing program, which rendered their opinions and testimony unreliable.
Despite this, 3M claims they are confident in its case and is ready to defend itself at trial.
REAL WATER INC. SUED OVER LIVER DAMAGE AMID FDA PROBE
Nevada parents sued Real Water Inc. alleging they and their child suffered liver damage from drinking the company’s bottled alkaline water, filing the same day that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration launched an investigation into hepatitis reports linked to the water.
The Wren family said that in August, Christopher B. Wren was hospitalized and became a candidate for immediate liver transplant, according to a suit filed Tuesday in Nevada state court. That day the FDA also announced its probe into Real Water brand alkaline water after receiving reports of five cases of acute non-viral hepatitis.
All five patients, which include adults and children, drank the water.
Real Water Inc. uses inexpensive and safe alkaline water supplied by the Southern Nevada Water Authority that it treats and processes for consumers at a premium price
The water’s labeling makes scientific and health claims to make it stand out from its competition and to command a premium price from health-conscious consumers.
The Wrens allege failure to warn and negligence claims, as well as violations of the Nevada Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
Law 360: https://www.law360.com/productliability/articles/1365994/bottled-water-co-sued-over-liver-damage-amid-fda-probe