3M Co., the maker of everything from Post-it notes to touchscreen displays, has a $33 billion problem hiding in plain sight.
It started as a trickle, with a single lawsuit filed back in 2018 alleging earplugs sold to the U.S. military were faulty. That first case unleashed a torrent. The company now faces several thousand suits over the issue and roughly 280,000 pending claims. That’s on top of another wave of litigation, with a cache of cases tied to its past production of so-called forever chemicals.