ATHENS, Ga. – (April 8, 2019) – The United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, which manages multidistrict litigation in the U.S. and helps determine whether civil actions pending in two or more districts should be transferred to a single federal district for pretrial proceedings, determined Wednesday that 3M Combat Arms Earplug litigation will be consolidated in the Northern District of Florida.
“Centralization in this district allows the Panel to assign this nationwide litigation to a forum with the necessary judicial resources and expertise to manage … efficiently and in a manner convenient for the parties and witnesses,” an order filed Wednesday by the Panel reads.
This means any cases pending outside the Northern District of Florida will be transferred and assigned to Judge M. Casey Rodgers for pre-trial proceedings.
Henry Garrard III, senior partner at Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C. in Athens attended the Panel hearing.
“We’re pleased the litigation will be centralized in the Northern District of Florida,” Garrard said. “It’s a convenient location in a region with a number of military bases. Judge Rodgers is an experienced judge who will try to move this litigation efficiently and expeditiously.”
Many service members have been affected by the 3M Combat Earplugs, suffering permanent hearing loss after being issued the devices during their military service from 2003-2015. The earplugs were used to protect service members from noise exposure during combat and training, but according to the lawsuit, the earplugs were defective because they were too short to properly insert into service members’ ears.
Jeffrey Allen Dice, Brunswick; Richard English, St. Marys; James Wilcox, Rincon; and Marvin Foster, Douglas Greenfield, and Edmund Diaz, all of Hinesville; are represented by Athens law firm Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C.