Litigation Update: Leadership Selection for the 3M Combat Arms™ Earplugs MDL Begins

by | May 6, 2019

By the close of business this past Friday scores of lawyers from around the country had submitted their applications for leadership in the 3M earplugs litigation. In Pretrial Order No. 4 Judge M. Casey Rodgers set out her process for selecting those who will fill the leadership positions in this important and complex litigation. Applications will be reviewed in camera by the Court, with the assistance of Magistrate Judge Gary R. Jones, Ellen Reisman of Reisman Karron Greene LLP, and Orran Brown of BrownGreer PLC. Thereafter a select number of attorneys will be asked to make an oral presentation to the court on their qualifications and to answer questions about their skill and experience. These presentations will take place on May 20th and 21st in the court in Pensacola.

In her Order Judge Rodgers stated, “The Court intends to establish a balanced leadership team that reflects diversity of all types and which has the synergy to capably steer this litigation to its resolution.” Given the complex issues in this litigation, she said that the leadership team must include lawyers with the “demonstrated capacity, skill, reputation, and financial resources” to successfully lead the MDL. She also stated that it was equally important for leadership to “reflect the diversity of legal talent within the plaintiffs’ bar, in terms of education, background, experience, and demographics”.

Plaintiff leadership positions for 3M Combat Arms™ Earplugs litigation will include Lead Counsel, Liaison Counsel, an Executive Committee to be chaired by the Lead Counsel, a Steering Committee and subcommittees for Electronically Stored Information (ESI), Early Vetting (to oversee production of basic information about each plaintiff’s claim), Law and Briefing and Common Benefit Fund administration. Joint committees with members from both plaintiff and defense counsel will include Joint Discovery/ESI Committee, Joint Armed Services Committee (to manage the challenges in obtaining discovery from the military, individual service members and related federal agencies), Joint SOL Committee and a Joint Settlement Committee.

Judge Rodgers has said that she will enter her order appointing leadership after the oral presentations on May 20th and 21st.

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