Important 3M Lawsuit Updates:
On May 28, 2021, a Florida jury sided with 3M in the first Defense win for the company. The case involved plaintiff Dustin McCombs, a veteran from Ohio who first began to experience tinnitus after a 2009 deployment to Afghanistan where he used the defective earplugs. His role in the United States Army included training soldiers how to use heavy machine guns. Mr. McCombs trial team stated they were disappointed with the jury’s verdict and looked forward to the third trial. Plaintiff’s counsel continues to believe that the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that 3M knew their earplugs were defective.
On April 30, 2021, a federal jury awarded a $7.1 million verdict against 3M for damages caused by its defective earplugs. The trial involved three Plaintiffs: Stephen Hacker (20-year Army Veteran), Luke Estes (Tank Platoon Leader), and Lewis Keefer (Army Medic). All Plaintiffs began to gradually notice a decline in hearing after using 3M’s defective earplugs.
The jury verdict against 3M awarded $2.1 million in punitive damages to each plaintiff and additional damages for medical costs, pain and suffering, and lost earning capacity. After the trial 3M stated they intend to appeal the verdict as other bellwether trials continue. It’s difficult to draw a firm conclusion about the future of the MDL until we have additional trials; however, this verdict serves as an important milestone in obtaining justice for the thousands of veterans who have been harmed by 3M’s negligent conduct.
On March 29, 2021, the first trial in one of the largest U.S. mass torts ever has kicked off. 3M will seek to defend itself against claims that its Combat Arms Earplugs version 2 or CAEv2 were defective.
On January 19, 2021, it was reported that defendants' bid to apply the state of law Indiana, (where 3M predecessor Aearo LLC was headquartered and performed some of the design work on the Combat Army Earplugs version 2 or CAEv2), has been denied. The Court ruled that the home states of the service members will be the law that is applied. The cases are set for trial on April 5, 2021, in Florida.
On January 4, 2021, The Florida federal judge overseeing litigation brought by service members and veterans who allege defective 3M earplugs damaged their hearing recently consolidated three cases for a April 5, 2021, bellwether trial and set two other dates in individual cases.
On December 9, 2020, five military members and veterans urged a Florida federal judge on Monday to group their bellwether cases for a single trial, saying their cases "involve overlapping, and frequently coextensive, issues and facts." These military members and veterans were selected among a pool of 220,000 other cases currently charging that 3M misled the military in making faulty ear protection that caused their hearing loss.
As of October 2020, there are thousands of earplug lawsuits brought against 3M. Many of these lawsuits have been combined into a multidistrict litigation (MDL). The purpose of this grouping is to speed the process of discovery along.
On July 27, 2020, A Florida federal judge ruled that 3M Co. can't escape allegations that it sold defective earplugs by arguing its government contract preempts those claims (i.e. government contractor defense). The cases will move forward with trials set to begin in Spring of 2021.
Military Veterans and Contractors with Hearing Loss
Thousands of veterans, military and government contractors may be entitled to receive financial compensation for hearing loss caused by defective earplugs (3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 - CAEv2). The dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs were manufactured and sold by 3M to all 4 branches of the U.S. military from 2003 to 2015. These earplugs were originally developed by Aearo Technologies, a company 3M bought in 2008. Many soldiers received these earplugs, especially those deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in the early 2000s.
3M’s earplugs may have caused thousands of soldiers to suffer complete or partial hearing loss. The military has fought for our country, now Griffin Purnell is ready to fight for our service members. Between the years of 2003 to 2015, 3M earplugs were mandatory and supplied to many servicemen and servicewomen with the intent to protect them from dangerous levels of noise. 3M had an exclusive contract with the U.S. military via the U.S. Department of Defense.
3M has admitted, however, that the earplugs were not properly designed and in reality, did nothing to protect soldiers from significant hearing loss to the point of deafness. They also withheld this information from the United States Justice Department and did not recall the product, choosing instead to discontinue selling the earplugs.
The design flaw lies in the length and shape. The side of the earplug that was supposed to fit snuggly in the ear canal would instead become loose once inserted into the ear, leaving service members unprotected from repetitive instances of damaging sound levels. Most users wore the 3M earplugs for years unknowingly at risk for hearing loss and damage - it was difficult for the wearer and a second person looking at the wearer to be able to tell the earplug was loose.
The case is not against the military directly but the manufacturer of the earplugs. Hearing impairment — including hearing loss and tinnitus — remains the number one disability among veterans. Griffin Purnell has the experience to fight for you. We’re ready to get you the compensation you deserve.
We believe in our ability to win your case.
Contact us today for a legal consultation.