Millions of American military personnel deployed overseas between 2002 and 2015 were issued 3M Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) as standard issue personal protection. The CAEv2 dual-ended earplugs were too short as designed and manufactured, and therefore could not adequately seal the ear canal. In 2018, 3M reached a settlement agreement with the federal government and paid a settlement of $9.1 million to resolve allegations that those Combat Arms Earplugs were defective. That settlement only resolved the claim of the government. Individual service members may now bring claims against 3M for tinnitus and hearing loss caused by those defective earplugs. In 2019, claims from around the country were consolidated into an MDL in federal court before Judge M. Casey Rodgers of the Northern District of Florida. Three “bellwether” trials have now taken place before Judge Rodgers in Pensacola, Florida in the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs consolidated litigation.
April 30, 2021: $7.1 million for 3 plaintiffs
The first bellwether trial resulted in a jury verdict of $7.1 million for three plaintiffs. After a five-week trial, the jury awarded each plaintiff $2.1 million in punitive damages and a total of $830,500 in compensatory damages for their medical expenses, lost earnings and pain and suffering. The plaintiffs presented evidence that 3M knew or should have known that the CAEv2 earplugs were defective. This was the first of several bellwether trials scheduled by Judge Casey. Plaintiffs’ counsel had asked that all five bellwether claims be tried together, but two of the cases were severed and tried separately.
May 28, 2021: Verdict for 3M
On May 28, 2021 the jury in the second trial issued a verdict in favor of the defense, 3M. The jury found 3M’s CAEv2 earplugs did not cause an Ohio Armed force veteran’s tinnitus. The plaintiff has appealed this verdict.
June 18, 2021: $1.7 million verdict for one plaintiff
The third bellwether trial began on June 7, 2021 and concluded on June 18, 2021 when the jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff for $1.7 million for pain and suffering, disability, and past and future non-economic damages. However, the jury also found plaintiff Lloyd Baker 38% at fault, so the total award will be reduced by that percentage to about $1.1 million.
3M Motions for New Trial Have Been Dismissed
U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers denied all of 3M’s motions for new trial, both immediately after the verdicts and then a second round of motions in August of 2021.
More Bellwether Trials to Come
Group B Bellwether trials have been scheduled by Judge Rodgers to begin on September 20, 2021. A second Group B trial is scheduled for October 18, 2021. Judge Rodgers is considering whether to consolidate the remaining three Group B plaintiffs for a trial which would begin in January 2022.
Around 240,000 service members have alleged hearing damage from the earplugs and 3,349 have filed lawsuits, according to 3M’s most recent quarterly report.
Are You Eligible to File a 3M CAEv2 Lawsuit?
You may be eligible to file a 3M Combat Arms Earplug lawsuit if you meet three criteria:
- You must have served in the military between 2003 and 2015;
- The military issued you dual-sided 3M Combat Arms Earplugs that you used;
- You must be suffering from tinnitus (ringing in the ears), hearing loss, or some other hearing condition.
Contact the Combat Arms EarPlug Lawyers at Thornton Law Firm
If you have hearing loss, tinnitus or other hearing problems you believe are connected to 3M Combat Arms Earplugs, you should contact your health provider for medical care. Military service members who served at any time from 2003 to 2015 may be entitled to compensation from 3M for hearing loss or tinnitus. Please call our toll free number at (833) 748-8287 for a free consultation with one of our 3M Combat Arms Earplugs lawyers. Or tell us your story using this contact form to discuss your potential legal options with an experienced products liability attorney.
We are not bringing claims against the U.S. government or the U.S. military. The claims will be brought against 3M Company, the private corporation that sold the defective CAEv2 earplugs.