3M has been hit by the largest verdict yet in a litigation involving 250,000 military service members who suffered hearing loss while wearing the 3M’s Combat Arms Earplugs version 2 (CAEv2).
Last week, a jury in Pensacola, Florida, awarded $22.5 million to Theodore F., a U.S. Army veteran who was diagnosed with noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears) in both ears.
He claims that 3M’s military earplugs failed to protect him from loud noises, including weapon fire, generators, and noise from vehicles and aircraft during his training and combat from 2006 through 2014.
His case was the 8th to go to trial against 3M, and the 5th in which a jury awarded compensation to a military service member. The previous awards were $13 million, $8.2 million, $7.1 million and $1.7 million, all in federal trials earlier this year.
The trials were “bellwether” cases in a federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL), meant to help lawyers negotiate a resolution in more than 250,000 similar claims.
All of the lawsuits claim that 3M was aware that their earplugs could loosen and fail to protect a user from dangerously loud noises. The company is accused of failing to warn the military about the hazard.