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3M Earplug Cases Get Divided Between State, Federal Court (1)

Oct. 20, 2021, 2:15 PMUpdated: Oct. 20, 2021, 6:06 PM

Civilian workers’ hearing-loss cases over allegedly ineffective 3M Co. combat earplugs must return to state court, but military contractors’ cases will stay in federal court, the Eighth Circuit ruled Wednesday.

Plaintiffs who obtained the earplugs “through the military” will continue to press their case in federal trial court, according to the ruling by Judge James B. Loken.

The U.S. Army’s role in developing the earplugs with Aearo Technologies LLC, which 3M acquired, was at issue in deciding whether federal defenses were in play in the suits. So were the military bases and other places where the injured workers bought and ...

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