In February 2023, León Cosgrove Jiménez, LLP attorneys Ronald J. Tomassi, Jr. and Devin R. Weinberg worked with Georgetown Law Professor J. Maria Glover to file an amicus curiae brief in In re: Aearo Technologies, LLC, a bankruptcy appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit that pits bankruptcy against multidistrict litigation (“MDL”) as methods of resolving mass tort claims.
The debtor-appellant in the case, Aearo Technologies, LLC (“Aearo”), and its non-debtor corporate parent, 3M, are both defendants in an MDL in the Northern District of Florida, where tens of thousands of servicemembers and veterans have alleged that combat earplugs manufactured by the defendants caused hearing loss and other injuries (“Earplug Litigation”).
In 2019, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated those claims, forming the largest MDL in history.
In 2022, Aearo filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11, triggering the automatic stay. 3M has not filed for bankruptcy, but has sought to benefit from Aearo’s petition by seeking shelter under Aearo’s automatic stay.
The Aearo case, a direct appeal from an order in Aearo’s bankruptcy declining to extend the automatic stay to 3M, asks whether Aearo’s bankruptcy requires also staying the Earplug Litigation against 3M so that all tort claims must be resolved by the bankruptcy court.
The amicus curiae brief, filed on behalf of a group of complex litigation law professors and in support of tort claimants, argues that extending the automatic stay to freeze the earplug litigation against 3M would undercut the MDL and raise serious due process concerns under Supreme Court jurisprudence, depriving tort claimants of rights to a day-in-court and adequate representation.
The case, No. 22-2606, is currently pending.