Jury Sides with Military Veterans in First 3M Defective Earplug Trial

Each Plaintiff Receives $2.1 Million in Punitive Damages

On Friday, April 30, 2021, a Florida jury found 3M Co liable for hearing damage suffered by 3 U.S. military veterans due to its defective 3M Combat Arms Earplugs. The jury awarded each plaintiff $2.1 million in punitive damages and a total of $830,500 in compensatory damages for their medical bills, missed wages, and pain and suffering.

Further, the jury did not find for any of 3M’s affirmative defenses nor appoint any contributory negligence to the plaintiffs or the government.

The First of Three Bellwether Trials

This “bellwether” trial is the first of 3, which are designed to try the widely contested issue of defective 3M earplugs and move hundreds of thousands of similar claims toward resolution. The verdicts in these 3 cases are expected to pave the way towards a settlement for the nearly 230,000 actions pending in Pensacola, Florida federal court. 3M has already paid $9.1 million to settle claims by the U.S. government that it concealed defects in the earplugs – although that settlement did not require the company to admit liability.

‘The Evidence Is Clear’

Reuters quoted a statement from the plaintiffs’ attorneys:

“The evidence is clear: 3M knew their earplugs were defective, yet they allowed our servicemembers to suffer these life-altering injuries.”

The lawsuit accused 3M of covering up design defects, falsifying test results, and selling the earplugs to the military without instructions for proper use. From 2003 to 2015, the U.S. military distributed the defective earplugs to service members. Now, army veterans between the ages of 30 and 49 are coming forward in droves, establishing the largest mass tort ever brought in federal court.”

What Does This Verdict Mean for Veterans with Hearing Damage?

Because the jury sided with the plaintiffs during this important trial, 3M could owe millions of dollars to more than 200,000 military veterans who suffered tinnitus, hearing loss, and other problems after using the defective combat earplugs. Assuming the next bellwether trials end favorably for plaintiffs, 3M should start planning a settlement for the remainder of the plaintiffs in the multi-district litigation (MDL).

If you served in the U.S. military between 2003 and 2015 and suffered injuries due to your use of defective 3M earplugs, now is the time to come forward. You may be able to join the MDL and/or file your own claim against 3M, and Oliver Law Group P.C. can help.

Call us or contact us online to learn more about how our team can help you and put our 22 years of combined experience on your side.

 


 

A federal jury on Friday found that 3M Co failed to provide adequate safety warnings for its combat earplugs and that a U.S. Army veteran who said he developed tinnitus after using them sustained $1.7 million in damages, the second such verdict against the company.

A federal jury on Friday found that 3M Co failed to provide adequate safety warnings for its combat earplugs and that a U.S. Army veteran who said he developed tinnitus after using them sustained $1.7 million in damages, the second such verdict against the company.

The ultimate amount that 3M would have pay to Lloyd Baker will be smaller, as the jury in Pensacola, Florida, found the company only 62% liable, according to a spokesperson for the plaintiffs' lawyers in the federal mass tort.

Jurors found that 3M failed to provide adequate warnings for the earplugs.  Two juries have now determined that 3M knew their earplugs were defective, yet they allowed our servicemembers to suffer these life-altering injuries. 


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