In yet another trial loss for 3M, a jury in Florida has awarded $8 million to a U.S. Army National Guard veteran who suffered hearing loss while wearing 3M’s military earplugs.
The plaintiff, Steve Wilkerson, 43, is a U.S. Army National Guard veteran from Lucedale, Mississippi who served in the Army from 1999 to 2002, and in the Army National Guard from 2005 to 2013.
According to his lawyers, Wilkerson was “exposed to noise from military vehicles, weapons and explosions during training and combat,” and now suffers from bilateral hearing loss and tinnitus.
After a 9-day trial, the jury in Tallahassee determined that 3M misrepresented information about the earplugs and was 100% liable for Wilkerson’s injuries.
On the same day, another federal jury in Florida awarded $50 million to Luke Vilsmeyer, a howitzer gunner who claimed he suffered hearing loss in both ears while wearing 3M earplugs.
3M is currently facing lawsuits from around 280,000 military servicemen and women who accuse the company of selling defective earplugs that failed to protect them from loud noises.
The earplugs were designed by Aearo Technologies, a company that was acquired by 3M, along with its liability for the earplugs.
Lawyers for 3M have argued that the military should bear some responsibility for how the earplugs were designed and delivered.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida and centralized in a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) — In re: 3M Combat Arms Earplug Products Liability Litigation — Case number 7:20-cv-00035