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Colson Hicks Eidson Partner Roberto Martínez Appointed to Plaintiff Leadership Team in 3M Earplugs Multidistrict Litigation

June 11, 2019
Colson Hicks Eidson

Martínez Selected to Executive Leadership Committee Tasked with Steering Hundreds of Lawsuits on Behalf of U.S. Military Members   

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (June 10, 2019) – Attorney Roberto Martínez, a partner at the Coral Gables-based trial law firm Colson Hicks Eidson, was appointed by U.S. District Judge Casey Rodgers of the Northern District of Florida to serve on the plaintiffs’ leadership Executive Committee in the nationwide 3M Combat Arms Earplug products liability multidistrict litigation.

More than 190 attorneys from around the country applied for leadership positions and Martínez was one of twelve attorneys, and the only South Florida attorney, to secure a spot on the coveted Executive Committee, which will work together to represent plaintiffs’ claims and lead the litigation against 3M Company, an American multinational conglomerate corporation and the exclusive supplier of earplugs to the U.S. military from 2003 through 2015.

In total, Judge Rodgers, along with an esteemed panel consisting of Magistrate Judge Gary R. Jones, Ellen Reisman of Reisman Karron Green LLP, and Orran Brown of BrownGreer PLC, selected 53 lawyers to serve on the leadership team, which includes a plaintiffs’ steering committee and nine subcommittees.

“It is a tremendous honor to be appointed by Judge Rodgers for this leadership position and to work with my respected co-counsel to represent current and former members of our military,” said Martinez.

More than 800 lawsuits have been filed around the country and consolidated in the Northern District of Florida. Plaintiffs allege that 3M’s dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs, used in both training and in combat, had a defective design that caused them hearing loss, hearing impairment, and ringing in the ears known as tinnitus. Plaintiffs additionally assert that 3M had knowledge of the defect when it sold the earplugs to the U.S. Military for over a decade and agreed to pay $9.1 million in 2018 to settle similar allegations by the U.S. Department of Justice. According to plaintiffs’ complaints, more than 800,000 former service members now suffer from hearing damage.

An experienced trial attorney and former United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Martínez has been representing individuals and businesses in all forms of civil litigation for more almost 40 years. With a focus on civil trials and white-collar criminal defense, he has tried over 40 cases to jury verdict as a civil litigator and prosecutor. He has also served as co-lead trial counsel in several anti-terrorism cases, obtained and collected judgments against the Government of Cuba, the Government of Aruba, and served as the federal court appointed Receiver for Mutual Benefits Corporation – at the time the largest S.E.C. enforcement action in South Florida recovering in excess of $120 million for more than 30,000 defrauded investors worldwide.

An active community and civic leader, Martínez was selected, in 2017, by Florida Chief Justice Jorge Labarga to serve on the Florida Constitution Revision Commission and previously served as the Chair of the Florida Federal Judicial Nomination Commission. A Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Martínez was recognized by the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division with its Special Recognition Award and is a recipient of the Florida Supreme Court Voluntary Bar Association Pro Bono Service Award. Martínez graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business and received his from the Georgetown University Law Center.

A trial law firm with more than 50 years of experience, Colson Hicks Eidson is nationally recognized as one of the top product liability litigation firms in the country. Members of the firm have served as lead counsel and on the plaintiffs’ steering committees in significant multidistrict litigation cases in Florida and around the country.  The firm is currently serving as one of the lead counsel in the Takata airbag product liability multidistrict litigation and previously served as the national co-lead counsel in the Ford-Firestone multidistrict litigation and on the plaintiffs’ leadership committee in the multidistrict litigation against Toyota Motor Corp over sudden unintended acceleration. The firm has also served on the national plaintiffs’ steering committee for litigation surrounding the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill and high-sulfur Chinese Drywall.

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The Law Firm of Colson Hicks Eidson is a trial firm with more than 50 years of experience handling local, national and international litigation, and arbitration. Members of the firm have been involved in some of the country’s most high-profile and landmark cases resulting in impactful and precedential rulings. A mid-size firm with a diverse staff comprised of more than 50 percent women and minorities, Colson Hicks Eidson prides itself on a track record of developing future leaders within the legal profession and its civic and community involvement. Members of the firm have held notable positions serving on the boards of prominent institutions, such as the State University System of Florida and the Florida State Board of Education, and holding high-ranking offices, including President of the 60,000-member American Association for Justice; President of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers; President of the Dade County Bar Association; President of the Miami-Dade Florida Association of Women Lawyers; United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; and Chairman of the Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission.