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Eric Rucker, 3M
Eric Rucker, 3M

In-House Counsel 2022: Eric Rucker

Eric Rucker was a veteran litigator in private practice, spending the first 22 years of his career at Briggs & Morgan (now Taft). The move to an in-house role was a seamless one.

“The job opened up, and a colleague of mine who was in 3M’s legal department said to me, ‘This would be perfect for you,’” Rucker recalls.

He came to 3M in 2015, and is now vice president, associate general counsel, litigation. Rucker is the longest-standing member of the litigation department as well as one of the most senior leaders.

For most of his time at 3M, Rucker has managed the mass-tort docket. That has meant creating a virtual law firm to handle 3M’s respirator defense work. The trial team he put together has won 17 out of 18 trials over the years.

Among other things, Rucker managed the defense of the largest multidistrict litigation in U.S. history. The 3M Combat Arms Earplug Products Liability Litigation consisted of about 280,000 lawsuits pending against 3M in the federal court system. Last year he managed nine bellwether trials in the Northern District of Florida. 3M won four of these bellwethers, even though the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed 3M’s strongest cases in the bellwether pool before they reached trial.

At the moment, he’s managing multidistrict litigation around 3M’s Combat Arms earplugs. At dispute is whether defects in the earplugs led to hearing loss for combat veterans.

“The breadth of the work I do beyond litigating — strategy and preparation — is refreshing,” he says. “I manage outside counsel, work with our corporate finance groups and deal with the business themselves.”

Rucker is also chair of 3M’s Legal Affairs Diversity and Inclusion Committee, as well as being a longstanding member (and former co-chair) of Twin Cities Diversity in Practice.

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