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The POWER 30: Michael Sacchet

Minnesota Lawyer//June 22, 2023

Michael Sacchet

Michael Sacchet, Ciresi Conlin LLP

The POWER 30: Michael Sacchet

Minnesota Lawyer//June 22, 2023

Ciresi Conlin LLP

The multi-district litigation in Florida over 3M’s allegedly defective ear plugs has had 16 bellwether trials so far and the score is 10-6 in favor of plaintiffs. It’s now entering “phase two,” according to attorney Michael Sacchet and Megan Odom of Ciresi Conlin, who represent plaintiffs in trial and on the expected appeals. U.S. District Court Judge M. Casey Rodgers has ordered both the MDL plaintiffs and thousands of plaintiffs in Minnesota state court to resume mediation. State bellwether trials scheduled against 3M are set for July 10, 2023; September 11, 2023; October 23, 2023; and February 5, 2024.

Sacchet and Odom represented some plaintiffs in the federal bellwether cases, with spectacular results. “We’ve never lost an ear plug trial,” Sacchet said.

In January 2022 a jury awarded $110 million to two plaintiffs, which was the highest ear plug verdict in the country to date, and the 32nd highest verdict of any kind. That was followed in May 2022 by a $77.5 million verdict for one plaintiff, which was the 49th largest plaintiff verdict in the country. It was $5 million in compensatory damages and the rest was punitive.

According to Sacchet, 3M’s litigation strategies have been the source of judicial sanctions throughout the litigation. Discovery has been effective. “The documents are so bad,” he said.

Rodgers also sanctioned 3M for its attempt to dodge legal liability via Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for its subsidiary, Aearo Technologies.

The bellwether results for the soldiers with the largest verdicts followed very intense trials, Sacchet said. The trials were in Pensacola, “a Navy town,” he said.  Every other juror in Florida has a bias about hearing loss and says it is expected as a cost of service, he said. But the jury came through for the three soldiers. “I’m so happy we were able to get those kinds of results for them.”

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