Thursday, May 25, 2023

3M CEO Required at Mediation

A Florida federal judge has ordered 3M CEO Michael Roman to attend mediation to resolve some 260,000 lawsuits alleging its military earplugs caused hearing loss. The judge wants the executive present so that he may "listen and engage directly with the mediators." Reportedly, mediation so far has been "encouraging," but requires 3M senior leadership to push ahead per the judge's order. Attendance of the CEO will ensure that 3M's board will have "firsthand knowledge of the current state of the negotiations" when evaluating any settlement offer. The lawsuits brought by veterans and members of the military allege that 3M's combat arms earplugs were defective. The company utilized bankruptcy of its subsidiary Aearo Technologies LLC, which manufactured the earplugs to try resolving the cases. 3M had opposed efforts to renew global mediation efforts in Florida federal court while Aearo's bankruptcy case is pending. 3M states it continues to believe that Aearo's bankruptcy provides a better option for resolving the earplug claims "more quickly, with more certainty and with more balanced recoveries among claimants." Aearo's bankruptcy strategy has been fiercely opposed by plaintiffs, who said that 3M was merely trying to escape litigation in Florida, following a series of unfavorable legal rulings and trial losses. See story here--