3M Cos. (NYSE:MMM) agreed to settle a proposed class-action lawsuit brought over alleged defects in its Lava Ultimate dental crown product.
The lawsuit, filed in May 2016 in the U.S. District Court for Minnesota by 39 dentists who used the Lava Ultimate crowns, alleged that they failed at rates that were “orders of magnitude higher than those seen in any other crown material.” More than 1 million Lava Ultimate crowns were sold before 3M pulled the crown indication from the market in June 2015, according to court documents.
“3M represented that its Lava Ultimate restorative product provided dentists and patients with a crown material that had a combination of aesthetics and durability that had previously been unavailable in restorations that were created ‘chairside’ – i.e., at the dentist’s office – during a single visit,” the suit alleged. “The shockingly high failure rates were due to an inherent defect in Lava Ultimate, which made the product inappropriate for the uses for which 3M had previously represented – in particular, Lava Ultimate’s use in dental crowns. All Lava Ultimate crowns contain this inherent defect.”
In March 2018 Judge Donovan Frank tossed claims brought under statutes in various states and struck the plaintiffs’ bid for punitive damages, but allowed other claims to be amended. Although the plaintiffs were seeking to amend the claims Donovan dismissed without prejudice and the case was in discovery, the parties agreed to hire retired Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan as an outside mediator.
After “rigorous negotiations” over the course of five sessions produced a settlement agreement, earlier this week the plaintiffs asked Frank to approve a deal that would require 3m to create a $32.5 million settlement fund for dentists who experienced at least one de-bonding before June 15, 2020, according to the documents.