3M’s shares soar after the company says 90% of earplug claimants had “normal” hearing

Shares of 3M Co. rose on Wednesday after the maker of consumer, industrial and healthcare products said U.S. Department of Defense filings showed the “vast majority” of plaintiffs in litigation over the company’s Combat Arms earbuds have normal hearing according to medically accepted standards.

The company, which also makes sticky notes, N95 masks and duct tape, said DOD data shows nearly 90% of the 175,000 plaintiffs in the earplug litigation have “no hearing impairment” by American Medical Association standards.

According to the standards of the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health, according to 3M, the data shows that more than 85% of the complainants have “normal” hearing.

3M added that for nearly a quarter of plaintiffs who have a hearing impairment by AMA or WHO standards, the DOD data shows they reported their condition in hearing tests prior to using Combat Arms earplugs.

The stock MMM,
rallied 3.5% in midday trade after closing at a five-month low in the previous session. The $3.73 gain added about 25 points to the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA.
while the Dow gained 45 points, or 0.1%.

3M faced litigation related to Combat Arms earbuds last year, stemming from allegations of “fraudulent misrepresentation and concealment.” Some on Wall Street put potential liabilities at around $14 billion.

Bryan Aylstock and Chris Seeger, co-lead attorneys for the plaintiffs, who are military members and veterans, said in a statement emailed to MarketWatch on Wednesday that 3M’s announcement was another attempt by the company to get the public involved to mislead. They said the DOD data actually shows that about 85% of the plaintiffs have hearing loss or tinnitus.

“The standards that 3M relied on in their estimate application were not used by their own experts in any of the 16 Bellwether studies,” Aylstock and Seeger stated. “Of the 13 jury verdicts in favor of the plaintiffs totaling nearly $300 million, 11 are [plaintiffs] would be considered “unaffected” under 3M’s system – even those wearing hearing aids.”

In July 2022, 3M said its subsidiary Aearo Technologies, which it acquired in 2008 and which makes the earbuds, had voluntarily filed for bankruptcy to help set up a trust as it tried to resolve all claims.determined that they are entitled to compensation.” 3M has pledged $1 billion to the Trust and an additional $200 million to help fund costs related to the case, and has said it will provide additional funds if needed.

At 3M annual report Filed in early February, the company said the bankruptcy and funding of the trust reflected a “change in strategy” for managing the alleged litigation liabilities.

“On February 3, we filed a motion to dismiss 3M’s fabricated bankruptcy,” Aylstock and Seeger said. “3M is a multi-billion dollar company that is not remotely in dire financial straits and as such should not be able to use the bankruptcy regime against the service members and veterans it has injured.”

3M’s stock is down 23% over the past 12 months, while the Dow is down 1.8%.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/3m-stock-bounces-more-than-2-after-saying-dod-records-show-nearly-90-of-plaintiffs-in-combat-arms-litigation-had-no-hearing-impairment-57dc6c15?siteid=yhoof2&yptr=yahoo 3M’s shares soar after the company says 90% of earplug claimants had “normal” hearing

Russell Falcon

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