A lawyer for 235,000 plaintiffs suing 3M over its combat earplugs asked a bankruptcy judge on Wednesday to dismiss its subsidiary’s Chapter 11 case, which he likened to a false alarm over a house fire.

“The pulling of the alarm does bring powerful tools to bear, like fire engines, like fireman, like long hoses, powerful water pressure, EMT vehicles,” Adam Silverstein, a member of New York’s Otterbourg, said in his opening statement at a hearing in bankruptcy of 3M subsidiary Aearo Technologies. “But those tools also unleash powerful and disruptive costs that affect lots of people, like building evacuations, like street closures, like snarling traffic. And the consequences of a false alarm are extraordinary. It burdens the system and puts people through unnecessary chaos.”

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