A federal jury in Pensacola, Florida has awarded $50 million to an Army veteran who accuses 3M of manufacturing defective earplugs that failed to protect him from suffering hearing loss.
The lawsuit was filed by Luke Vilsmeyer, a military serviceman who used 3M’s Combat Arms Earplugs version 2 (CAEv2) between 2006 and 2017. He claims he was injured during training and while serving as a howitzer gunner, and then later as a Green beret.
His award is the 2nd-largest jury verdict against 3M in the earplug litigation, following a $110 million verdict to two other U.S. Army veterans back in January.
It is the 7th trial loss for 3M, out of twelve trials in a sprawling MDL which now includes more than 280,000 claims from service members who allegedly suffered hearing loss or tinnitus due to CAEv2 earplugs.
In total, juries have now awarded more than $200 million to veterans, finding that 3M knowingly sold defective earplugs that could slip out.
The earplugs were designed by 3M subsidiary Aearo Technologies LLC. Lawyers for 3M argue that the military also bears some responsibility for how the earplugs were designed and delivered.
The lawsuit is Luke Vilsmeyer et al. v. 3M Co. et al. in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida— Case Number 7:20-cv-00113.