93.1 KISS FM – Ask A Lawyer, Part 10

KISS-FM's Ask A Lawyer Segment with Michael J. Gopin

Women

Waking up with Mike and Trisha on 93.1 KISS FM.

Trisha

Oh, no.

Mike

Hang on a second. Hang on. No, it’s because I’ve gotta do all this button-pushing.

Trisha

Oh, okay.

Mike

That’s why. Hold on a minute because I gotta do all this button-pushing.

Trisha

Okay. Well, while you’re doing that, I’ll talk about this.

Mike

Okay.

Trisha

Okay. So this is our Ask a Lawyer segment. It’s brand new on Mike and Trisha Mornings, and we are talking to lawyer Michael Gopin.

Mike

Hi, Michael.

Michael Gopin

Good morning, guys. How are you?

Trisha

Very nice. We’re good. We’re good. Okay. So, we have a lot to talk about this morning. So let’s jump right into it. So, I know that if people have seen your commercials, they’ve seen the one about the defective 3M earplugs. Now, my son served eight years in the military and three tours in Iraq. And he came back ultimately with 40% hearing loss in one ear and 20% in the other. And so, you are doing this…you’re part of this class-action lawsuit, right?

Michael Gopin

Yes, correct.

Trisha

Okay. So…

Michael Gopin

These are cases… Go ahead.

Trisha

No, no, no. You go ahead.

Michael Gopin

These are cases against 3M, not against the Army. Many people are worried that they’ll be suing the Army, or the government, or something like that. This is not about that. It’s about the manufacture of the earplugs themself, 3M.

Trisha

Okay. So that was one of our questions. It was who is responsible for the earplugs being defective? It’s the company.

Michael Gopin

Correct. Exactly.

Trisha

Okay. So how exactly were the 3M earplugs defective?

Michael Gopin

Well, the government contracted with the company to have these earplugs block out noise at certain levels, and they didn’t do it. So, they were less than the standard that was agreed upon. And so because of that error or negligence that’s being alleged, people have lost their hearing, partial loss like your son. Other people have had tinnitus, dizziness, ringing in their ear issues. So there’s a lot of damages that people have suffered because the earplugs weren’t the standard that the government needed and requested, and that’s the problem. That’s the issue in this case.

Trisha

Okay. So, we have a question from Jose. He said he served in the military between ’02 and ’05. He said, “I’m unsure if we used these types of earplugs.” But he did do two tours overseas during this time. Would he still qualify?

Michael Gopin

Yes, he certainly, and most probably, would qualify for this. If you were overseas deployed between 2003 and 2015, those are the years that these earplugs were used. So, yes, he would need to… We would like to get him to consult with an attorney. He can call our office, and we can get him started. These cases take quite a bit of time and are extensive but, yeah, he needs to get that going. So, 2003 to 2015 are the years that people are eligible for this.

Mike

How did it go so long? Oh, my gosh. I mean, that’s a lot of years that these things were being used.

Trisha

And a lot of men and women who were serving with them.

Mike

Yeah, like, how could they not know in the years that these things weren’t working the way that they’re supposed to?

Michael Gopin

Yeah, that’s hard to imagine but, you know, it takes time to have hearing loss. And so, you know, it doesn’t happen overnight, and people, you know, may not complain about it immediately or even realize. The hearing may go down, you know, a little bit at a time. And then, they have more and more needs because, you know, more and more things happened while they were overseas, and their hearing gets damaged worse. And then more and more people are figuring this out, and that’s kinda what happened.

Trisha

Okay. So one of our other questions is if I’m a retired veteran, do I still qualify?

Michael Gopin

Yes, you certainly do. If you’re in the military now or a veteran, you still qualify as long as you’re 2003, 2015. Those are the key times.

Trisha

Okay. So there is a trial that’s coming up. Is it too late to try to get in on this class-action lawsuit?

Michael Gopin

No, it’s not too late. Time is of the essence, depending on when you were deployed and so forth but, no, it’s not too late. Just give us a call. Give another attorney a call, and come on out. And we’ll look at all the facts of your case, and try to get it all taken care of for you.

Mike

So what’s the timeline. Like, is there a cut-off, like, once the trial starts? Is that how it works?

Michael Gopin

No, there hasn’t been a set timeframe yet, but we expect that the deadline to be sometime in this current year. The court will let us know in terms of the class-action, and there’s lots of different cases. Some of them are being tried. Some are being, you know, held together. So, you know, hopefully, after a couple cases are decided, they’ll reach an agreement with the whole entire class, and settlements will start coming.

Mike

Can you explain how class-action lawsuits, in general, work because this is what this is, right? A class-action lawsuit?

Michael Gopin

Correct. Class-action lawsuits are generally when there’s a class of people, in this case, either active military or veterans, who have been damaged by, you know, a product in this case. And so, there’s multiple, multiple victims or, you know, people who have been injured by the product. There’s too many to necessarily try them all. If you have, let’s just say, there’s 100,000 or more people who have been damaged by these earplugs, it would be really, really difficult to have all of these cases tried by a jury or a judge.

So, they gather them, kinda bind them together into a class, which a class of people, and that’s how they work. You know, this has been done with a lot of drugs in the past, with the tobacco company, you know, with cigarettes and so forth. So, they’re very common, and they’re used when such large numbers of people that are damaged, it’s much easier to do it with a class-action.

Mike

So it’s kinda like an all-for-one, one-for-all kinda thing, you know?

Michael Gopin

Definitely.

Mike

So whatever verdict is reached, it’s the same for everyone in that class-action lawsuit.

Michael Gopin

Yeah, it’ll depend on, you know, how badly they’re damaged. I mean, everybody’s different. So if one person has lost 10% of his hearing, another person’s lost 60%, you know, there will be different degrees. So the person with 60% loss will have a higher recovery than the person with a slighter loss.

Trisha

Yeah, I mean, you’ll get a settlement. But what you’re settlement will get will depend on what your damage has been occurred.

Mike

Oh, I gotcha.

Trisha

Yeah.

Mike

Okay. All right. Well, if you have any questions on those 3M earplugs, please do call us at 880-9393. You can also find Michael Gopin online and get your questions answered that way. But you can call us, and we’ll point you in the right direction. We’ll be right back. It’s Ask a Lawyer with Michael Gopin. We have some general questions that Mr. Gopin will answer next on Mike and Trisha Mornings.