May 3, 2021 — As more than 230,000 veterans, current service members, and more users of 3M earplugs have filed claims stating that the earplugs have caused them significant hearing loss rather than protecting them from it, the verdict of the first 3M lawsuit to go to trial was highly anticipated. The bellwether trial consolidated the lawsuits of three veterans and lasted for five weeks in the U.S. District Court in Pensacola, Florida under Judge M. Casey Rodgers. On April 30, 2021, a federal jury found that 3M Co. failed to warn about defects in its product and awarded the veterans $7.1 million. Each veteran received $2.1 million in punitive damages and the veterans’ individual awards were $340,000, $320,000, and $160,000.
A 3M spokeswoman stated that the company is in disagreement with the verdict, saying that the plaintiffs did not meet the burden of proving the “product was defectively or negligently designed.” She also informed that the company will consider “multiple grounds for appeal.”
Attorneys for the veterans were just as confident, stating, “The evidence is clear: 3M knew their earplugs were defective, yet they allowed our service members to suffer these life-altering injuries.”
The next bellwether trial begins May 17.
Reference: Randazzo, Sara. 3M Loses First Trial Over Military Earplugs. 30 Apr. 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/3m-loses-first-trial-over-military-earplugs-11619809398.