Bankruptcy of 3M subsidiary fails to end earplug lawsuits


The logo of the Down Jones Industrial Average 3M stock index listed company is displayed in Irvine, California April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake

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Aug 26 (Reuters) – A U.S. bankruptcy judge on Friday refused to block more than 230,000 lawsuits accusing 3M Co of selling allegedly faulty earplugs to the U.S. military, saying the bankruptcy of the subsidiary that had manufactured did not necessarily protect the parent company. company.

3M subsidiary Aearo Technologies LLC filed for bankruptcy protection in Indiana on July 26, seeking to resolve lawsuits alleging 3M’s Combat Arms Version 2 (CAEv2) earplugs caused loss auditory.

The lawsuits were consolidated in federal court in Florida and became the largest mass tort litigation in US history. Aearo placed $1 billion in a trust to settle them and agreed to indemnify 3M for any liability related to CAEv2.

3M denied responsibility, saying its earplugs provided protection for soldiers while allowing them to hear on the battlefield.

Companies that file for bankruptcy usually receive an immediate stay of prosecution, buying them time to settle debts and achieve their restructuring goals. But the plaintiffs argue that 3M should not benefit from this legal shield because it is bankrupt.

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Reporting by Dietrich Knauth; edited by Jonathan Oatis and Josie Kao

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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