3M’s Aero Technologies files bankruptcy following faulty earplug claims

Hearing more than 200,000 combined claims that its Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 were faulty, 3M subsidiary Aearo Technologies has initiated filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Facing litigation from more than 100,000 claims currently filed – with another 120,000 in the waiting – the company voluntarily initiated Chapter 11 proceedings, seeking court supervision to help establish a trust – funded by 3M – "to efficiently and equitably resolve all claims determined to be entitled to compensation."

In the agreement, 3M will pay $1 billion to fund a trust for claims, and also an additional $240 million to fund project-related case expenses.

"The well-established chapter 11 process is intended to achieve an efficient and equitable resolution, reduce uncertainty, and increase clarity for all stakeholders, while reducing the cost and time that could otherwise be required to litigate thousands of cases," according to a 3M statement. 

The company said that the claims could take years, if not decades, to litigate on a case-by-case basis.