As we advised earlier this week, 3M announced a settlement plan for the Combat Earplugs Version 2 litigation. This settlement is intended to resolve any pending cases as well as cases that have not been filed or were previously dismissed (if they were dismissed without prejudice to refiling). For cases that have not previously been dismissed, we are confirming internally that we have all of the required documentation and reaching out to clients who have are still missing documents.
There is another group of cases who were previously filed but, despite repeated requests, we did not receive DD214 within the court’s deadlines, resulting in a dismissal without prejudice. Without prejudice means that it can still be refiled. The Court dismissed tens of thousands of these over the last two years, including several hundred just last week. These types of cases are still eligible for the settlement.
However, we MUST have a copy of your DD214, a completed census form, and a completed Plaintiff Fact Sheet. IF WE DO NOT RECEIVE THESE 3 DOCUMENTS BY SEPTEMBER 9, 2023, YOUR CASE WILL NOT BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE SETTLEMENT, OR ANY FUTURE SETTLEMENT AND BCA WILL CEASE TO REPRESENT YOU IN THIS MATTER! These claims will not be included in the list of BCA claimants submitted to the Court that we believe to be eligible. BCA will send notice that we are withdrawing from representation and notify the court as such. The Fact Sheet and census can be found on this webpage. These forms are REQUIRED by the court for eligibility for the settlement. They must be fully completed as the Court will not allow deficiencies to be cured at a later date. If you do not have a DD214, the Blue Button Report from the VA website (Home – My HealtheVet (va.gov) can be used as an approved alternative.
However, if we receive these documents in time, the case will be included in BCA’s list of eligible cases to be submitted to the Court by the Court’ September 12, 2023 deadline. Approximately four months from now the claims process is expected to open, at which time we will need to submit a registration form and sign a release in order to have your claim actually submitted for review under the settlement plan. Again, this only happens if we receive the necessary documentation by September 9, 2023.
The settlement is comprised of three different agreements. The first portion is to settle the cases that actually took several multi-million dollar verdicts against 3m, and does not apply to any BCA clients. The second portion is for the Wave cases, which are cases that were being worked up for trial (to various degrees), but did not actually get to trial. BCA has about a dozen of these clients who were all told that they were part of the wave process either personally are as part of a group call. Finally, the vast majority of our clients fall under the main settlement agreement. This agreement calls for payments totaling $5.65 billion to be paid to the remaining claimants, including veterans, active duty servicemen, and civilian contractors. The payments will be made by various manners, including cash, stock, and insurance payments over a period of five years. Claimants will be able to opt for an expedited review which will likely start funding next year, or a lengthier full review.
The settlement is subject to a number of conditions, including acceptance by 98% of the Plaintiffs opting into the settlement. The details of the settlement are still being distributed. Please keep a lookout for additional details in the coming days and weeks.