3M loses another bellwether case involving solid earplugs

The average settlement per bellwether plaintiff — including the one who lost his case — is well over $1 million. Multiply that times the number of cases pending and 3M could be liable for damages in the hundreds of billions of dollars, plaintiffs’ attorney say.

“They are staring down the barrel of over 200,000 cases,” said Michael Sacchet, an attorney at Ceresi Conlin in Minneapolis who is on the earplug plaintiffs’ steering committee and was a trial attorney in the most recent case.

“3M will have to fold,” Sacchet said, referring to the prospect of a settlement.

But the company said it has no such plans and that the bellwether trials will continue.

“The litigation is not over, and this verdict is just one of several initial steps, with many more cases to be tried before different juries,” 3M said in a blog post Monday. “Each case must be proven on its own facts.”