Latest 3M MDL Trial – 3M Earplug Lawsuit Update 2021

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June 18, 2021 – Today a Florida federal jury decided that an armed service man should be awarded $1.7 million from sustained hearing loss from the 3M combat earplugs. The court said 3M was 62% responsible for the hearing loss. This now is the second loss in the three bellwether trials.

3M’s failure to warn is what the jury decided, but also said plaintiff Lloyd Baker was 38% responsible. Lloyd is one of some 235,000 service members that have filed claims in this large MDL, alleging the earplugs are defective in preventing hearing loss from ultraloud trainings and in combat scenarios.   

Baker, was a M240 machine gun operator, testified that he began having muffled hearing and tinnitus when training at Fort Lewis in Washington state in 2005-2006 before being deployed in Iraq. He was diagnosed in 2009 with tinnitus.        

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May 28, 2021 – Today in a Florida Court during closing arguments in the second bellwether trial has determined that 3M is not responsible for the hearing loss, tinnitus and other injuries related to the faulty 3M combat earplugs. In this case it was Dustin McCombs, and Afghanistan veteran who suffered from an IED explosion in 2009 that started his tinnitus and became worse when he was stationed in Alaska.

His lawyers responded to the verdict:  “While we are disappointed by the jury’s conclusion in this trial … we continue to believe that the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that 3M knew their CAEv2 earplugs were defective, yet allowed our service members who relied on them for hearing protection to suffer from preventable hearing loss and tinnitus.”

For veterans that have been following the 3M bellwether case from April 30, there is still a window of time open for you to file your claim with no out of pocket cost to you. However as with all defective product lawsuits there is a statute of limitations that applies. Act now if you’ve experienced any hearing loss, tinnitus or ringing in the ears Use this 100% Secure Claim Form to start the claims process. We expect large cash settlement payouts from these 3M claims. 

April 30, 2021 — Today in a Florida Court has slapped 3M with a whopping $7.1 million verdict, much of it in punitive damages in the first 3M earplug bellwether trial. That Florida jury took the side of three former military veterans who claimed the were harmed from the combat arms earplugs known as the CAEv2s that failed to work causing hearing loss or a condition known as tinnitus.

The jury awarded $2.1 million punitive damages to all three veterans. Stephen Hacker suffered tinnitus in 2006, Luke Estes had suffered from ringing in the ears beginning in 2014, and Lewis Keefer slowly started loosing his hearing.

  • Hacker will receive an additional amount of $160,000 for pain and suffering.
  • Estes gets $350,000 for hearing loss, medical costs, and pain and suffering.
  • Keffer will receive $320,000 for medical costs, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.

March 30, 2021.  In what is surely a blow to defendants for 3M during the March 13 hearing that took place in a Florida Federal court, two industrial hygienists won’t be allowed to testify on the 3M combat hearing plug MDL lawsuit.

These industrial hygienists, whose work involves the role of anticipating, identify and recognize workplace hazards are barred from any expert witness statements according to the judge in the case.

U.S. District Judge Casey Rodgers stated that Dr. Richard Neitzel and Jennifer Sahmel can’t testify on behalf of 3M because plaintiffs questioned their opinions based on their qualifications, reliability and helpfulness in the cases.

Judge Casey Rodgers said:

“They will not be permitted to testify that the Army did not consistently or uniformly implement hearing protection device training and fitting requirements, or that failing to do so impacted the efficacy of its hearing programs and placed soldiers at risk of hearing-related injuries.”

He also mentioned that neither expert witness had any knowledge or experience with the Army Hearing Conservation Program.  “an expert’s opinion must nevertheless be based on sufficient facts or data and ’have a reliable basis in the knowledge and experience of his [or her] discipline.’ These experts satisfy neither criteria.” 

He went on to further state: “Dr. Neitzel’s and Sahmel’s opinions in this regard are speculative, unreliable, and mere conduits for hearsay.”

There are currently  220,000 service members and veterans who have asserted that they have suffered hearing loss or tinnitus from these allegedly defective combat earplugs.

3M also built website to “show facts”

In a motion filed on March 19, “requested an immediate hearing to address Defendants apparent efforts to perform impermissible jury research, influence the jury, and subvert the Court’s judgments and evidentiary rulings.” 

This action came directly from 3M creating a website and buying ads on the Internet to show up for searches related to search terms such as “Combat Hearing Loss, “earplug lawsuits, “defective earplugs”. It appears that that 3M wanted to sway potential jurors if they read the web page.  

Why is there a 3M Combat Hearing Loss Lawsuit?

During the height of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands of armed forces members were deployed with dual-ended earplugs meant to protect their hearing in combat.

The United States military purchased millions of units of 3M’s combat earplugs and distributed them to service members between 2003 and 2015. The same year the military stopped distributing 3M’s earplugs, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released a study revealing more than 1 million veterans were receiving disability compensation for hearing loss and 1.6 million more were receiving compensation for the hearing condition tinnitus.  

In 2018, three years after the VA report was released, it was revealed 3M knowingly sold defective earplugs to the military. 3M agreed to pay $9.1 to the federal government to settle allegations it had knowingly sold defective earplugs to the U.S. military.

The earplugs sold by the Minnesota-based company were apparently too short to effectively protect soldiers’ hearing during combat. According to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), 3M knew the earplugs were defective before it sold the product to the military. Now, lawsuits are being filed by veterans whose hearing was compromised during combat while wearing 3M’s defective earplugs.

3M dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2)

Veterans and active duty military members are filing lawsuits against 3M accusing the company of selling a defective product that led to hearing loss and other injuries. Many of these lawsuits involve veterans who now suffer from tinnitus, the perception of noise or ringing in the ears. Tinnitus isn’t a condition itself, but a symptom of an underlying condition, such as an injury to the ear.

The earplugs, called dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2), were originally sold by Aearo Technologies LLC, which designs and manufactures noise, shock, and vibration products. In 2007, three years into the military’s contract with Aearo, 3M purchased the company for $1.2 billion. We have updated the 3M Earplug Lawsuit Individual Payout.

These lawsuits accuse 3M of designing a defective product and failing to warn about its potential risks.

3M Combat Earplug page updated on June 28, 2021