A federal panel of judges transferred over 640 lawsuits to be overseen by Judge M. Casey Rodgers, whose courthouse is in Pensacola, Florida. The 3M earplug lawsuits accuse 3M of selling defective dual-ended earplugs to the U.S. military from 2003 to 2015.
Before becoming a judge, Casey Rodgers served in the U.S. military for two years. The panel said they chose Judge Rodgers because she is an “able jurist” and has experience overseeing large, complex cases. Judge Rodgers coordinated over 2,000 lawsuits against the makers of Abilify, a drug that is alleged to have caused uncontrollable impulses and dangerous behavior in patients. The parties in the Abilify case notified Judge Rodgers in February 2019 that they had reached a global settlement.
In the 3M cases, the company has accused the plaintiffs’ lawyers of “forum shopping” by trying to get the cases consolidated somewhere “with a large military presence or in front of a judge with military experience.”
While there were over 640 lawsuits against 3M at the time of the federal panel’s decision, more lawsuits are frequently being filed against 3M on behalf of service members with hearing loss or tinnitus.