More Than 100 Dentists Form Class Action Suit Against 3M
Several dentists from Georgia and Texas are leading a proposed class action lawsuit against 3M, claiming the manufacturer’s Lava Ultimate dental crowns are defective and have a “shockingly high” failure rate.
More than 100 individuals or businesses have already joined the suit against Maplewood-based 3M, best known for its Scotch and Post-It Note brands along with other industrial supplies it produces. As the case was only recently presented to the U.S. District Court for Minnesota, the representative plaintiffs assume the size of the suit could grow as the case involves “hundreds of thousands of defective dental crowns” sold by 3M to dental practices around the nation. “The number of class members is likely in the thousands,” court filings indicate.
Given the unknown party size, plaintiffs have only noted they plan to sue for an amount exceeding $5 million.
The suit is seeking compensation for materials and time spent repairing crowns previously cemented to a patient’s tooth. Some dentists claim 3M’s Lava Ultimate product debonded, or came off, in at least half of all cases. To reapply the crown, dentists were required to once again x-ray the patient, administer anesthetic, clean the old crown, re-prep the tooth, and reapply the bonding agent.
In the dental community, debonding incidents are considered “an emergency event” and require immediate attention. Repairing a failed Lava Ultimate crown typically takes two or more hours and can cost dentists more than $1,000 per restoration, the complaint said. The plaintiffs claim 3M refused to compensate them for the cost of their materials or the time spent repairing failed crowns, which ultimately forced them to bear the costs.
“Every day, dentists are replacing Lava Ultimate crowns at great expense to their practices and reputations—all because 3M put a faulty product on the market and continued to aggressively market it despite clear evidence that it failed at remarkable rates,” said Warren T. Burns, lead partner of Burns Charest, the Dallas-based law firm that filed the class action suit.
3M’s Lava Ultimate product officially hit the market after approval by the FDA in 2011. In June of last year, the company issued a statement acknowledging the high debonding rates, informing dentists to discontinue use of the product in crowns. The plaintiffs allege 3M “aggressively marketed” Lava Ultimate for crown application for years despite complaints from dentists that the product had an “abnormally large number” of debonds.
Lori Anderson, a 3M spokesperson, told TCB the company hasn’t yet been served the complaint, but that lawyers would review it when it arrived. The company declined to comment further.
For more than a decade, 3M has been known for its innovations within the dental industry.
This is not the only ongoing lawsuit the company is facing. In February, a Hennepin County judge reactivated a pollution suit originally issued against 3M in 2010. In that case, the State of Minnesota is alleging 3M disposed of potentially harmful chemicals within various landfills and water supplies, including the Mississippi River.
Only two weeks prior to that, inventor Alan Amron opened a $400 million suit claiming 3M took his idea for “Press-on Memos” and created the Post-It Note.