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3M Bankruptcy Tactic Fails as Combat Earplug Suits Move to Trial

Aug. 27, 2022, 5:07 PM

3M Co.’s plan to use controversial bankruptcy rules to shield itself from some 230,000 lawsuits over military earplugs looked like a relatively simple fix to a long-simmering problem that could cost it billions of dollars.

Like most things that sound too good to be true, it was. Now it may be time for Plan B: a comprehensive, and still costly, settlement process for US soldiers who claim hearing damage.

An Indiana bankruptcy judge on Friday rejected 3M’s bid to temporarily halt the avalanche of lawsuits accusing the manufacturing giant and a bankrupt subsidiary of selling faulty combat earplugs.

3M ...