Florida Jury Awards Army Vets Over $7 Million in 3M Combat Earplugs Trial
At present, there are over 246,000 registered claimants in the 3M Combat Earplugs Multi-District Litigation (“3M MDL”). Most of the plaintiffs involved in this litigation are veterans from the various branches of our armed forces, all of whom suffer from debilitating hearing loss or tinnitus as a result of the defective 3M earplugs they wore while serving our country. Recent developments have spotlighted that 3M falsified safety study results and knew that its Combat Earplugs would not protect soldiers from hearing loss.
In the first of these cases to go to trial, on April 30, 2021, three army vets received the justice they so rightfully deserved when a federal jury in the Northern District of Florida awarded them a total of $7.1 million in damages.
You may know of 3M Company. It is very likely you have even used one of their products. The American multinational conglomerate can best be described as a “manufacturer of things.”
The company makes everything from adhesives to laminates to personal protective equipment and so much more. The “so much more” might even be the screen protector on your monitor or phone, or the command hooks you use to hang up lights during the holidays.
Unfortunately for our service veterans, 3M was also the exclusive manufacturer of our military’s earplugs from 2003 to 2012. In fact. 3M sold over 2.25 million pairs of its dual-ended Combat Arms™ earplugs to the U.S. military, generating $9 million in sales in 2006, alone. The earplugs remained a standard issue until 2015.
However, it did not take long for veterans, who spent their days in combat around the incessant and loud noises of planes and tanks and explosions, to begin to notice something was wrong with their hearing. They just didn’t know the why or the how. Even service people who were never deployed still dealt with noisy barracks and bases, the “bangs” and “booms” of explosions during bootcamps and training exercises.
The first public rumblings about 3M’s faulty earplugs started in May of 2016 with the filing of a whistleblower complaint. Consequently, in July of 2018, 3M agreed to pay $9.1 million to resolve a lawsuit pursued by the U.S. Department of Justice, which among other claims, alleged that 3M knowingly sold defective earplugs to the U.S. military, violating the Fair Claims Act.
Now, three years later, 3M is a defendant in an MDL, facing nearly a quarter-million civil lawsuits filed by private individuals.
The Yost Legal Group is working to help our veterans receive the justice they deserve after being misled about the efficacy of these earplugs.
Although there is no cure for permanent hearing loss or tinnitus, The Yost Legal Group is working to get victims monetary compensation that could help with the quality of life as veterans transition into the post-service chapter of their lives.
The three Army veterans who were awarded $7.1 million in damages last month are just the beginning of this MDL. The next trial is set to begin on Monday, May 17. We will be sure to keep you up to date on the results of that trial as well.
If you or a loved one is a veteran of the U.S. military and suffering from hearing loss or ringing in the ears after being issued the 3M combat earplugs during your time in the service, contact us at 1-800-YOST-LAW (1-800-967-8529). A consultation with our experienced defective earplugs attorneys is completely free of charge. You may have a case, so there is no time to waste.