The 10th bellwether trial resulted in the largest verdict in the 3M Combat Arms Earplug consolidated litigation. A federal jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida awarded two plaintiffs a combined $110 million dollars, which included an award of $80 million in punitive damages. Each plaintiff was also awarded $15 million in compensatory damages. In the trials conducted in the bellwether phase of the litigation, nine plaintiffs have been awarded a total of $160 million dollars. Five more bellwether trials are planned this year.

The plaintiffs, Roger Sloan and William Wayman, are veterans who alleged that they suffered hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears) while using 3M Combat Arms earplugs version 2 (CAEv2) during training and deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both plaintiffs served in the U.S. Army; Sloan served from 1994 to 2015, and Wayman served from 1997 to 2017.

From 2003 – 2015, the 3M Company distributed and sold millions of pairs of defective Combat Arms Earplugs to the U.S. military. Aearo Technologies, a subsidiary of 3M, was also a defendant in the case, having developed the earplugs before acquisition by 3M in 2008. Service members allege they suffered hearing damage, including ringing in the ears and hearing loss, because the defective earplugs did not protect them from dangerous noise. 3M has denied all claims and announced it will appeal this verdict. 

You may be eligible to file a 3M Combat Arms Earplug lawsuit if you were a military service member between 2003 and 2015; you were issued and used dual-sided 3M Combat Arms Earplugs; and you now have hearing damage, whether it be tinnitus (ringing in the ears), hearing loss, or some other hearing problem.

The Combat Arms earplug litigation was spurred in part by a False Claims Act lawsuit by a whistleblower alleging that 3M sold defective earplugs to the military. In 2018, 3M agreed to pay $9.1 million dollars to the Department of Justice to settle the allegations that it knowingly sold defective earplugs to the Department of Defense for use by U.S. servicemembers. 3M did not admit liability as part of that settlement. This litigation is one of the largest mass torts in United States history, with nearly 300,000 suits pending.

If you have hearing loss, tinnitus, or other hearing conditions you believe are connected to using defective 3M Combat Arms Earplugs, you should seek medical care from your physician. Military service members who served between 2003 to 2015 and suffered damage to their hearing may be entitled to compensation from 3M for damages. Please call (833) 748-8287 for a free consultation with one of Thornton Law Firm’s 3M Combat Arms Earplugs lawyers. Or tell us your story here using this secure electronic form.

The claims will be brought against the private corporation that sold the defective CAEv2 earplugs, 3M Company. We will not bring claims against the U.S. military or the U.S. government.