Bankruptcy Court Won’t Shield 3M From Earplug Claims

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An Indiana bankruptcy court refused to temporarily shield 3M from hundreds of thousands of veterans’ claims that its earplugs caused them hearing loss, ruling Friday that the company couldn’t benefit from its subsidiary’s bankruptcy protections. (Law360)

Lahav of Cornell said 3M officials could try to set up a comprehensive resolution system — like the one created by Merck & Co in 2007 to settle cases over the withdrawn painkiller Vioxx. Under that settlement, clients submitted evidence of their injuries and were compensated based on how severely they were harmed. Or 3M could join the ranks of companies recently choosing to settle product-liability lawyers’ inventories of cases, such as Bayer in the Roundup litigation, she said.

“I think this is manageable for 3M, but somebody has to step up and chart their strategy going forward,” Lahav said. “Some mediator has to come in and see what kind of deal is workable.” (Bloomberg)

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