yellow earplugs on black background

3M Earplug Litigation Update: Federal Jury Clears 3M in Second Bellwether Trial

Updated June 8, 2021.

Lacy Katzen LLP is no longer accepting new referrals in the 3M Combat Ear Plugs Litigation

A federal jury in Pensacola, Florida has found in favor of 3M in the second bellwether trial held in the Combat Arms Earplug (CAEv2) multi-district litigation (MDL). The verdict, rendered on May 28, 2021, set forth that 3M was not responsible for the tinnitus and hearing loss injuries suffered by veteran Dustin McCombs during his military service from 2008-2011.

The MDL, pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida is comprised of more than 230,000 plaintiffs who allege that the faulty design of 3M’s earplugs caused them to come loose, resulting in hearing loss and tinnitus to users. The earplugs were issued exclusively to military service members from 2003-2012.

The earplugs featured a dual-ended design, intended to block all sound when inserted one way but to allow filtered sound when worn in reverse. Plaintiffs allege that 3M was aware of the tendency of the earplugs to loosen and, therefore, not provide the necessary protection.

The defense verdict comes on the heels of a $7.1 million verdict in the first bellwether trial awarded to three Plaintiffs in April of this year.  In a statement issued after the trial, the three lead plaintiff’s attorneys said, “While we are disappointed by the jury’s conclusion in this trial … we continue to believe that the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that 3M knew their CAEv2 earplugs were defective yet allowed our service members who relied on them for hearing protection to suffer from preventable hearing loss and tinnitus.” 3M stated that it would continue to defend itself and its earplugs, maintaining that the product is not liable for any injuries suffered by the plaintiffs in the MDL because the military should be held responsible for the design of the earplugs.

The U.S. District Judge assigned to the MDL, Judge M. Casey Rodgers,
has scheduled the third bellwether trial to begin on June 7.  With one victory and one loss, Plaintiffs will anxiously await the verdict in the third trial.

If you or a loved one believe that you have been affected by the 3M earplugs contact attorney Jacqueline Thomas for assistance.


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