MIAMI, FL – A $6 billion settlement has been approved by Judge Rodgers in the 3M earplug lawsuits involving service members who claimed the earplugs were defective. The settlement includes a plan to issue $1 billion in unregistered stock as part of the payment. The stock’s value will be determined using a weighted average method commonly used by regulators. An investment manager and adviser will be employed to reduce investment risks as the stock is issued in tranches.
In addition to the settlement, 3M has contributed $250 million to the Qualified Settlement Fund, which will provide compensation to approximately 25,000 to 30,000 veterans who choose to accept smaller, quicker payments.
Despite concerns about a key element of the settlement involving the transfer of $1 billion in stock, a former SEC commissioner expressed confidence in the fairness of the stock transfer. The shares would be issued to a settlement fund and could be sold immediately, with provisions to mitigate the risk of stock dilution.
Judge Rodgers has decided not to revisit the possibility of sanctioning two attorneys involved in the case. The attorneys had challenged sanctions imposed on them for violating the judge’s order. However, the judge has decided to drop the matter and move forward.
The new 2024 VA disability rates will be effective December 1, 2023, with a 3.2% cost of living increase for disabled veterans starting in January 2024.
A new order has amended previous orders, replacing ARCHER with BrownGreer PLC as a co-administrator of the Qualified Settlement Funds. BrownGreer will now undertake all necessary activities for managing the funds.
Scammers have targeted claimants participating in the settlement, impersonating employees of Archer Systems LLC. Judge Rodgers has warned claimants to be vigilant and report any fraudulent activities to the appropriate authorities.
Judge Rodgers has issued several orders addressing deadlines and requirements for submitting documents related to the case. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in case dismissals.
The settlement is reportedly in the final stages, with 3M expected to pay around $5.5 billion into a settlement fund. The structure of the settlement and the average settlement amount are still unknown.
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As the settlement progresses, more details will be revealed, including the settlement structure and average settlement amounts. Veterans groups have expressed support for the settlement, while some plaintiffs have raised concerns about the lack of an admission of guilt by 3M.
The settlement is expected to reduce the number of cases in the MDL, and law firms may begin to stop taking new cases. However, the exact timeline and details of the settlement are still uncertain.