Restructure This! Episode 20: 3M: The Controversy of MDL in Chapter 11 with Ashley Barriere


Sheppard Mullin's Restructure THIS! podcast explores the latest trends and controversies in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, commercial insolvency and distressed investing. In this week's episode, we welcome Ashley Barriere, partner at Keller Postman LLC, to discuss the 3M Combat Arms Earplug multidistrict litigation and the subsequent Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by 3M subsidiary Aearo Technologies from the perspective of the plaintiffs she represents: military veterans seeking recovery for injuries related to the earplugs.


What We Discussed in This Episode:

  • The 3M Combat Arms Earplug multidistrict litigation (MDL) and what makes it unique
  • The jurisdictional tension between the multidistrict litigation overseen by an Article III judge versus the Aero Technologies bankruptcy overseen by an Article I judge
  • 3M's attempt to use the government contractor defense in the MDL
  • The critical difference between multidistrict litigation and a class action proceeding
  • The reaction by plaintiff’s attorneys and the judge overseeing the MDL on the day that Aero Technologies filed for Chapter 11
  • The reasoning behind the bankruptcy court denial of the debtors' motion to extend the automatic stay to non-debtors, including parent company 3M
  • The implications of the U.S. Appeals Court for the Third Circuit's decision on January 30, 2023 to dismiss the bankruptcy case for Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary, LTL, as having been filed in bad faith

About Ashley Barriere

As a partner at Keller Postman, Ashley Barriere focuses on product-liability matters, leveraging her experience at an AmLaw25 law firm and knowledge of the intricacies of multidistrict litigation to anticipate opponents' arguments, crafting powerful legal strategies and briefs on behalf of her clients.

Ashley has been appointed to serve on the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee In the Acetaminophen—ASD-ADHD Products Liability Litigation, where she will lead the Law and Briefing Subcommittee. She is also a member of the court-appointed Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in the Onglyza and Kombiglyze XR MDL, where she chairs the Law and Briefing Subcommittee. Ashley also represents clients and briefs critical legal issues in the 3M Combat Arms Earplug MDL and the Paragard IUD MDL.

Ashley served as a law clerk for Judge Eldon E. Fallon at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Judge Fallon's work overseeing large multidistrict litigation matters inspired Ashley to join the plaintiffs' bar.

About Justin Bernbrock

Justin Bernbrock is a partner in the Finance and Bankruptcy Practice Group in Sheppard Mullin's Chicago office, where he focuses on all aspects of corporate restructuring, bankruptcy and financial distress. He represents clients across a wide range of matters, including debtor and creditor representations. He has substantial experience in out-of-court and in-court restructurings, primarily in the Southern District of New York, Eastern District of Virginia, District of Delaware and Southern District of Texas.

Contact Information 

Ashley Barriere

Justin Bernbrock

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This podcast is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not to be construed as legal advice specific to your circumstances. If you need help with any legal matter, be sure to consult with an attorney regarding your specific needs.

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