The judge managing a complex multi-party litigation has directed senior management of 3M to appear personally at a mediation session.
Astute mediators often have on their checklist being sure participants have authority to settle. In that spirit we note the Order issued recently by Judge M. Casey Rodgers in In re 3M Combat Arms Earplug Products Liability Litigation, No. 3:19-md-02885-MCR-HTC (N.D. Fla. May 19, 2023), which we repeat essentially in its entirety:
Leadership, at its most effective, requires adaptability—a recognition that as the nature and demands of a situation develop and change so too must a leader’s stewardship approach and actions, in order to accomplish organizational goals. Many situations do not require the leader’s presence or input; indeed, there are times when his presence may impede progress. Other times, successful leadership occurs through delegation of responsibility to achieve certain goals to others. Sometimes, however, neither one’s absence nor a proxy will do. 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.
Formal mediation was reinstituted for the MDL and Minnesota CAEv2 cases against 3M Company on May 2, 2023, and negotiations toward a global resolution are ongoing. Although these are encouraging developments, the mediation discussions have progressed to a critical juncture where the most senior party representative leaders must be present. Accordingly, every member of Plaintiffs’ Settlement Committee must personally attend the next mediation. For 3M, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board Michael F. Roman must personally attend, and listen and engage directly with the mediators, so that his reports to the Board of Directors regarding the potential for global resolution of these cases are properly informed by firsthand knowledge of the current state of the negotiations. The next mediation session is scheduled for May 25-26, 2023 at the United States District Court, One North Palafox Street, Pensacola, Florida. All participants must meet and confer with each other and the mediators to discuss settlement, and negotiate in good faith.
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