We Can Obtain Military Records For Your 3M Clients!

Your clients may be having trouble obtaining proof of military service; form DD214.  It can be a long process, exhausting and highly frustrating.  Most vets will be routed to the national archive free records request system.  It is a manual process that requires you to print, sign, stamp, and mail or fax a confusing application to the government and then wait weeks for your documents in the mail.  Vets can also try their luck with other avenues.  There are 100s of records repositories across the US.  But unfortunately, no matter which they try, too many requests are met with complications, long waiting periods or dead ends.
 
Most US military records are not yet digitized, and this has created a needle in the haystack situation.  Vets can’t count on their local national agent to go the extra mile to help them.  There are 51 separate agencies housing national guard records across 50 states and D.C.  But they don’t collaborate well, nor do they have access to records of all the army, navy, marines, air force, coastguards etc. simultaneously.  If the record you’re looking for is housed in one of these locations, you have to contact each location individually until you find the correct one housing your record.  If you reach out to a national agency requesting a record located elsewhere, you will simply get a letter asking you search elsewhere.  The process of attempting this task on your own is often fruitless and endless.
 
We have a team that is highly familiar with government protocol and procedure, as well as record retrieval.  We even physically stand in line at repositories, and also have a rapport with government personnel.
 
Once we locate your client, we will confirm their current phone number, back up contacts, home address and email.  We will also collect their signature and all the information required to obtain the DD214.  We can also help them obtain Proof of Injury.

Judge Approves Boy Scouts $2.46 Billion Reorganization Plan

CMTAS finds your missing clients and a phone number to reach them or their guardian.  We can also obtain their signatures or medical records!

A bankruptcy judge approved a $2.46 billion reorganization plan by the Boy Scouts of America. It will enable it to keep operating while it compensates tens of thousands of men who say there were sexually abused as children while involved in the Scouts.
 
The Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice called confirmation of the final approval of the plan historic for “tens of thousands of survivors of childhood sexual assault.”
 
Coalition representatives said in a news release : “The Court found that the BSA’s liability for abuse claims is most likely between $2.4 billion and $3.6 billion, and approved settlements that will provide for initial funding of $2.279 billion to survivors: $78 million from the BSA, $515 million from local councils, $30 million from the United Methodist Church, and $1.656 billion from settling insurers,”
 
Over 82,000 men have filed claims saying they were abused as children by troop leaders across the country. (AP News) (CNN)

Veterans Sue to Block 3M Health Care Spinoff Over Earplug Lawsuit Costs

CMTAS finds your missing clients and a phone number to reach them or their guardian.  We can also obtain their signatures or medical records!

3M UPDATE: After 3M announced plans to spinoff its healthcare business into a new public company, two US Military veterans sued the company to block the planned spinoff, which they called an illegal attempt to avoid compensating veterans for hearing damage caused by the company’s military issue earplugs. The veterans lawsuit states that the spinoff is merely an attempt by 3M to “wall off” assets, shielding them from being able to pay creditors, a violation of Florida law. The case is due to go before US District Judge, M. Casey Rodgers, who has already been harshly critical of the company’s legal strategy. 3M spokesperson Tamara Sander stated in an email “the suit is without merit and we will vigorously defend ourselves.” Ashley Keller, a lawyer for the veterans said in a statement: “Fortunately, the law does not allow companies to gift their assets to shareholders when doing so leaves them unable to pay their debts”. (Reuters) (Law360) (Bloomberg)

Bayer Rejects Global Roundup Settlement

CMTAS finds your missing clients and a phone number to reach them or their guardian.  We can also obtain their signatures or medical records!

ROUNDUP UPDATE: After its 5th consecutive trial win in the Roundup liability cases, Bayer AG will not settle on the tens of thousands of cases still pending, court documents show. Despite the company losing two appeals in connection with two multi-million-dollar verdicts in California earlier this year, Bayer has stated “Monsanto intends on defending itself in the litigation and will only consider resolving outstanding current cases and claims if it is strategically advantageous to do so”. Plaintiffs have asked the court to end the multidistrict litigation process(MDL) to allow remaining cases to go to trial, claiming that the MDL process “does not work” and that after two years the MDL program is “not advancing case resolution in a meaningful way”. Conversely, Bayer has said in a statement that it wants to keep MDL intact, and does not support a proposed settlement. (DTN/Progressive Farmer) (Law360)

Bankruptcy Court Won’t Shield 3M From Earplug Claims

Great News!

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)

The time has come to find all your unresponsive 3M clients.  CMTAS will find them all or their Next of Kin or guardian. We are available 24/7!

More Than 20,000 Claims Axed In 3M Earplug MDL

The Florida federal judge overseeing the multidistrict litigation over allegedly defective 3M earplugs that harmed service members’ hearing dismissed claims brought by 20,000 veterans who failed to submit proof that they had served.

U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers said that the MDL has been pending for more than three years and, during that time, all veterans who wore the Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 earplugs during their service have been on notice that filing proof that they served in the military is “a fundamental” requirement in pursuing their claims.

Judge Rodgers dismissed the claims without prejudice. Active-duty plaintiffs and non-veterans have until June 6 to file a motion to reopen their cases, along with a statement about the status of their military service.

The MDL, consolidated in 2019, includes more than 280,000 service members and others alleging hearing damage as a result of using 3M’s CAEv2 earplugs, which they say were defective.

3M has argued that service members were allowed to flood the administrative docket with unvetted claims.

However, the judge has disputed 3M’s argument that a lack of filing fees and other filing requirements have allowed the administrative docket to be filled with frivolous claims. In an April order, she shut down 3M’s bid for an order to make more than 180,000 plaintiffs immediately pay filing fees, saying the fees were never waived, and there is no feasible way to accelerate payments as 3M requested.

So far, there have been 15 bellwether trials in the litigation, with six wins for 3M and nine for plaintiffs. The most recent trial ended with a $2.2 million verdict on April 29 to Jonathan Vaughn, who served a tour of duty in Iraq and has been using a hearing aid since 2012.

Judge Rogers has also ordered the parties to prepare nearly 1,000 cases for trial this year,

LAW360: https://www.law360.com/articles/1491488/more-than-20-000-claims-axed-in-3m-earplug-mdl

Walgreens Hid Menthol Risk In Cigarettes, Buyer Says

Walgreen Co. gives the impression that Marlboro menthol cigarettes are just like any other cigarettes and doesn’t warn consumers that the menthol makes them “far more dangerous and addictive” than other tobacco products, according to a proposed class action filed in Florida federal court.

Plaintiff Fernanda Price said that adding menthol to tobacco products covers up unpleasant flavors and increases their appeal, fueling addiction among children and young adults, and yet Walgreens doesn’t provide any warning about the increased health risks of menthol cigarettes. 

Tobacco products with menthol can also be harder to quit because they can enhance the effects of nicotine, with studies suggesting that banning menthol cigarettes in the U.S. would lead an additional 923,000 smokers to quit and 633,000 fewer deaths.

In 2009, then-President Barack Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which authorized the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products and prohibited all flavors in cigarettes. The law didn’t ban menthol, but Congress still recognized that the ingredient could pose unique health risks in cigarettes.

The FDA in 2010 then organized a Tobacco Product Scientific Advisory Committee, which found, among other things, that menthol produces a number of sensory effects, including reducing the irritating effects of tar and nicotine, making those cigarettes more palatable.

The committee’s report concluded that adding menthol to cigarettes increased addiction in young smokers, increased the rate of regular smoking and resulted in a lower success rate for African Americans trying to quit smoking.

The FDA announced a plan to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, citing the flavoring’s outsize impact on minorities.

But despite these alarming findings, Walgreens didn’t tell its customers about the dangers of the menthol cigarettes on its shelves.. Price, who has bought menthol cigarettes from Walgreens for several years and believed she was buying ordinary cigarettes, said she wouldn’t have bought them if she’d known about the risks.

Price said she read and relied on the packages and advertising for the menthol cigarettes that misrepresented them as typical cigarettes that were no more dangerous than any other. She said Walgreens should not be allowed to sell menthol cigarettes or, at the least, should provide a warning that they pose an increased risk.

Price wants to represent a nationwide class of people who have bought menthol cigarettes from Walgreens over the past four years.

The suit claims a violation of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, negligent misrepresentation and breach of implied warranty. It seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement of profits, damages and attorney fees, among other things.

LAW360: https://www.law360.com/articles/1490686/walgreens-hid-menthol-risk-in-cigarettes-buyer-says

Pot Industry May Soon Face Surge Of Product Liability Suits

The cannabis industry should brace itself for a surge in consumer class actions as the market matures and the plaintiffs bar grows more sophisticated, a panel of product liability experts said.

Panelist Ian Stewart, co-chair of the cannabis practice at Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP, noted that most product liability claims could be sorted into two categories: those that allege bodily injury due to some defect in the way the product was made or marketed, and those that claim products were labeled inaccurately. He said claims in the first category, which often carry heftier liabilities, are relatively uncommon in the cannabis space, but that could change soon.

Co-panelist Jasmine Wetherell, a civil litigator who is of counsel at Perkins Coie LLP, said the situation in the food and beverage industry, which has become a major target for consumer class actions, could serve as a helpful harbinger of what the cannabis industry faces as it continues to grow.

According to a Perkins Coie analysis cited by Wetherell, there were a few dozen consumer protection actions filed against food and beverage companies in 2012; last year the number had surged to more than 350, she said.

She noted that the vast majority of claims are being brought under state consumer protection laws, either those on the books in California or others closely modeled on them.

Some claims have alleged that the product doesn’t do what it purports to do — a warning for the marijuana industry, whose boosters have been enthusiastic in selling the public on the plant’s purported medicinal and spiritual benefits.

“We all know cannabis is often touted for having miracle abilities, but these claims are really risky under [consumer protection laws],” Wetherell said.

Wetherell noted that consumers could also allege that cannabis products don’t contain what they purport to contain. She pointed to similar lawsuits alleging that yogurt and kombucha brands did not have the live cultures listed on their labels and warned that cannabis companies listing their full manifest of cannabinoids could open them up to similar complaints.

“Here we could see that translates to allegations that, on a simple level, the product doesn’t contain the amount of CBD or THC it claimed to have, and therefore we overpaid for it,” she said.

The panelists noted that the standards of proving liability in other industries — a risk-benefit analysis or an assessment of what a reasonable consumer could expect — are lacking in cannabis so far because the expertise and consensus are not yet there, but that could all change as the market grows.

“We don’t have enough consumers who are knowledgeable about the product to have formed those expectations,” said Stewart. “That’s a hurdle for the plaintiffs to get over, but I think as time goes on they’re going to be able to make these cases.”

LAW360: https://www.law360.com/articles/1490205

Procter & Gamble Sued Over Carcinogen In Deodorant Sprays

A proposed class of buyers is suing Procter & Gamble Co. in Ohio federal court, saying the company misled them about the safety of aerosol sprays such as Old Spice and Secret deodorants after a report showed that they contain a known carcinogen.

The class — led by named plaintiffs Cheri Casolari, Dan Lewis, Berenice Bernier, Chaka Theus and Sondra Trent — aims to represent a nationwide class as well as subclasses for Illinois, Arizona, California and Florida residents who bought the products.

Independent laboratory Valisure LLC tested a variety of antiperspirants and deodorant sprays in 2021 and found that a number of Procter & Gamble’s products contained benzene, which is recognized as a human carcinogen that is found in crude oil and cigarette smoke.

Benzene is also linked to leukemia and other blood disorders. Under U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations, no amount of benzene is acceptable in the kinds of aerosol spray products that Procter & Gamble sells.

After Valisure’s report came out, Procter & Gamble in November 2021 announced the voluntary recall of certain sprays under its Old Spice and Secret brands, and in December 2021 issued an additional recall for products under the Pantene, Aussie, Herbal Essences and Waterless brands, all because of the detection of benzene.

The products do not list benzene as an ingredient, and that Procter & Gamble has indicated that it does not use benzene in any of its products. Therefore, the presence of benzene as detected by Valisure indicates that the products were contaminated, and that those representations were false.

While Procter & Gamble’s recall notices instructed buyers to go to the various brands’ websites to learn how to receive reimbursement, the class called these offers “nonexistent or illusory,” as the information is either buried deep within the sites or missing altogether, or requires that customers further contact the company via chat, email or phone, making the process needlessly cumbersome.

The complaint includes claims for breach of express and implied warranty, violation of the four states’ consumer protection, warranty and false advertising laws, and unjust enrichment.

The classes are seeking an order blocking Procter & Gamble from continuing to falsely advertise its products as being free from benzene, as well as restitution and disgorgement of profits and compensatory and punitive damages.

LAW360: https://www.law360.com/articles/1489231/procter-gamble-sued-over-carcinogen-in-deodorant-sprays

Juul And Altria Can’t Cut Most Claims From Teen’s Vaping Suit

A California federal judge won’t let Juul Labs Inc. and Altria Group Inc. cut the bulk of claims from a teenager’s suit alleging that they deceptively advertised their vaping products to minors, saying there are fact questions about whether the girl saw or was affected by advertising for the e-cigarettes.

U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick largely denied bids for partial summary judgment filed by Juul and Altria in a suit brought by a minor identified as B.B., dismissing only those claims that B.B. abandoned during the summary judgment briefings.

The case is one of hundreds in the California-based multidistrict litigation concerning Juul’s marketing of electronic cigarettes.

B.B. began using Juul’s e-cigarettes when she was 12 in 2017, after she was given some by a friend, and has continued to use them. She alleged that advertising of the products made them seem healthy and safe, and that if she’d known the dangers, she would have either stopped using them, or not used them in the first place.

Her suit brought 17 claims against Juul and Altria, including strict liability, failure to warn, negligence and misrepresentation claims. Juul moved to dismiss her fraud, failure to warn, breach of warranty, manufacturing defect, failure to recall and medical monitoring claims, while Altria had sought to dismiss her common law negligence and gross negligence claims, negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment and medical monitoring claims.

Juul argued that B.B. hadn’t shown that she relied on the advertisements, as she did not initially buy the vaping products, so she can’t claim that those advertisements caused her to pick up and continue vaping.

Judge Orrick said, however, that  B.B. identified the types of advertising materials she was exposed to and testified that she hadn’t noticed the warnings on those advertisements because they were not prominent.

Altria had first argued that B.B.’s claims under common law were subsumed by the Tennessee Products Liability Act, saying that it is not a manufacturer covered by the terms of the act in regard to B.B.’s claims.

The panel said however,that  B.B. has introduced evidence that could lead a juror to conclude that Altria’s ongoing talks with Juul encouraged Juul to continue reaching out to the youth market in ways that affected B.B.’s decision to vape and keep vaping.

LAW360: https://www.law360.com/articles/1489202/juul-and-altria-can-t-cut-most-claims-from-teen-s-vaping-suit