Most class action lawsuits that make the California news stem from consumer complaints against manufacturers of defective products. A more recent class action products liability suit was filed not by a group of consumers, but by dentists. According to the claim, the dentists witnessed the significantly high failure rate of a product manufactured by 3M.
The Lava Ultimate dental crown first hit the market after receiving FDA approval in 2011. By June 2015, 3M instructed dentists across the country to discontinue all use of the Lave Ultimate because of the high rate in which the crowns came off, also known as debonding. However, dentists claim that the company was aware of the defective nature of these crowns long before they issued that statement and, instead of addressing the issue in a timely manner, continued to market it aggressively.
A debonded crown is considered a dental emergency that requires immediate action. The cost of repairing a debonded crown is approximately $1,000 and requires the patient to undergo repeat X-rays and additional anesthesia. The rate at which the Lava Ultimate crowns debonded was reported to be as high as 50 percent, and dentists were reportedly unable to recuperate any of those costs from 3M.
3M is currently facing at least two other lawsuits, although neither of those are related to products liability claims. For this claim, though, experts believe that there could potentially be thousands of class members in the suit based on the defective crown's high rate of failure. Successfully navigating this claim to completion could result in just recourse for those in California who were further harmed physically and financially by the Lave Ultimate dental crown.
Source: tcbmag.com, "More Than 100 Dentists Form Class Action Suit Against 3M", Sam Schaust, May 17, 2016