A federal jury in Florida has slammed 3M with a $110 million verdict in favor of two U.S. Army veterans who claim they suffered from permanent hearing damage despite wearing 3M’s military earplugs.
It is the largest-ever verdict in the federal litigation which now involves nearly 300,000 military servicemen and women who claim they suffered hearing loss or tinnitus (ringing in the ears) while using 3M earplugs.
The two veterans, William Wayman and Ronald Sloan, both served in the U.S. Army since the 1990s, including deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. They were each awarded $15 million in compensatory damages and $40 million in punitive damages.
Their lawyer said they are pleased with the verdict, but must live with hearing loss that “will never go away and will only get worse.”
Lawyers for 3M vowed to appeal the verdict. 3M continues to defend the safety of their now-discontinued earplugs, known as Combat Arms earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2), which were developed by Aearo Technologies.
There have been 10 other cases that have been decided in trial. 3M has won five cases and military service members have won five. The verdicts range from $1.7 million to $22.5 million per person.
The Multi-District Litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida is 3M Combat Arms Earplug Products Liability Litigation — Case 3:19-md-02885.