Judge orders 3M CEO to attend next mediation session

A federal judge has ordered the chief executive officer of Minnesota-based 3M to attend the next mediation session regarding the earplug lawsuit the company is facing.

Friday, U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers said Mike Roman, 3M’s CEO and board chairman, has to attend and work with mediators in Florida at this week’s mediation session in an effort to settle the case.

Many situations do not require the leader’s presence or input … Sometimes, the nature and demands of a situation are far-reaching and consequential enough that the leader must be in the room. This is one of those times,” the judge wrote in the order.

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Mediation was ordered late last summer in the case after a bankruptcy judge determined that 3M isn’t shielded from liability in lawsuits surrounding the Combat Arms Earplug Version 2, which was designed by Aearo Technologies and sold to the military for more than a decade. 3M later acquired Aearo Technologies.

More than 230,000 veterans have now filed legal action, claiming the earplugs caused hearing problems.

The next mediation session in the case is scheduled for Thursday and Friday.