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Two Army Veterans Receive $110 Million in 3M Earplug Lawsuit

Author
James Parker
February 23, 2022

3M is being sued by nearly 300,000 people for selling defective military combat earplugs which left service members with hearing loss and tinnitus. Two U.S. Army veterans claimed they suffered hearing loss from combat earplugs manufactured by 3M, a multinational company. A federal jury awarded them $110 million on January 27th. This is the latest in thousands of lawsuits alleging that 3M sold defective earplugs. 3M maintained that the earplugs, known as Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 and were safe and effective, have since been discontinued.

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This decision was the largest amount ever awarded in the 3M earplug lawsuit. Ronald Sloan and William Wayman were awarded $15 million each in compensatory damages and $40 million in punitive damage by a jury at the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Florida. Bryan F. Aylstock was a lawyer representing the plaintiffs. He said that both veterans suffered from hearing loss and tinnitus that affected their day-to-day lives. "While they are pleased with the verdict, and happy that 3M was able to present its defenses, they must go back to their lives with these permanent conditions that will simply never go away and will only worsen," Mr. Aylstock stated.

According to their lawyers, Mr. Sloan as well as Mr. Wayman used the earplugs while training and during their deployments in Iraq or Afghanistan. From 1994 to 2015, Mr. Sloan was in the Army. Mr. Wayman was there from 1997 to 2017. 3M was a waste of time that put soldiers in danger, according to Mr. Aylstock. "It's certainly not like this was a paperclip or a Postit note where it didn't work very often," Mr. Aylstock stated.

They knew that this would cause irreparable damage to our soldiers. 3M stated in an email statement that it would appeal against the jury's decision. It also noted that the company had won two of the cases in the earplugs litigation.

The statement stated that while we were disappointed by the verdicts, the mixed record of the bellwether process so far shows that plaintiffs face significant difficulties in this litigation. Each case must be analyzed on its own. Aearo Technologies, a 3M subsidiary, was the inventor of the product and was also a defendant. The earplug litigation involves nearly 300,000 civilians and service personnel. It is the largest mass tort in American history. 3M won 5 cases, while the plaintiffs won 5 cases in the remaining 10 cases.

The successful lawsuits awarded $1.7 million to $22.5 million each to nine of the 14 servicemen who were plaintiffs. This year, five additional trial dates have been set. In March, Pensacola, Fla. will host the next trial. A whistleblower lawsuit claiming that 3M sold defective headphones to the military violated the False Claims Act was the catalyst for the litigation. 3M settled with the Department of Justice for $9.1 Million in 2018 in response to the lawsuit. The settlement did not resolve liability.

Free Case Evaluation

If you or a loved one were harmed by 3M Earplugs, you may be entitled to compensation.

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