December 15, 2021

3M Ordered to Pay $22.5 Million in Military Earplug Trial

An Army veteran was awarded $22.5 million for hearing damage in the latest 3M Combat Arms earplug trial. It is the largest award to date in the consolidated litigation in federal court in Florida, topping the $13 million awarded in a trial just last month. Eight bellwether trials have gone to verdict; it is the second trial in a row where the jury awarded punitive damages.

Theodore Finley served in the U.S. Army from 2006 to 2014. He was issued a pair of 3M Combat Arms dual-sided earplugs (also known as the CAEv2), which he wore during training and combat as he worked around weapons fire, generators, mechanized vehicles, helicopters, and airplanes. In addition, while Finley was serving in Afghanistan, his armored vehicle was hit with a rocket grenade. He developed bilateral tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss as a result of the allegedly defective design of the 3M earplugs. Expert medical witnesses testified to his hearing loss and ringing in the ears. 3M defended vigorously, attacking both the cause of his hearing loss, and the cause of his emotional distress.

The jury award to Finley was as follows: $1,500,000 for past pain and suffering; $6,000,000 for future pain and suffering, and $15 million in punitive damages. Again, this was the largest amount ever awarded in these 3M earplug bellwether trials, and the largest award of punitive damages. Of the eight trials, five were victories for the plaintiffs; three juries sided with 3M. This is the third jury to award punitive damages as part of its verdict. Congratulations to the trial team of Brian Aylstock, Shelley Hutson, and Christopher Seeger.

3M Company sold and distributed millions of pairs of defective Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 to the U.S. military from 2003 until 2015. Military service members allege their earplugs were defective and did not protect them from dangerous noise, and therefore they suffered hearing loss and other hearing damage. 3M denies all claims and has indicated it plans to appeal this verdict. However, 3M agreed to pay the U.S. government $9.1 million dollars in 2018 to settle allegations that it with knowledge sold defective earplugs for use by U.S. servicemembers to the Department of Defense. More than 272,000 lawsuits are currently pending against 3M.

You may be eligible to file a 3M Combat Arms Earplug lawsuit if you served in the military between 2003 and 2015; you used dual-sided 3M Combat Arms Earplugs the military issued; and you now suffer from hearing loss,  tinnitus (ringing in the ears), or some other hearing condition.

Seek medical care from your health care provider if you have tinnitus, hearing loss or other hearing problems you believe are connected to using defective 3M Combat Arms Earplugs. Military service members who served at any time from 2003 to 2015 who have hearing issues may be entitled to compensation from 3M for damages. Please call our tollfree number at (833) 748-8287 for a free, no-obligation consultation with one of Thornton Law Firm’s 3M Combat Arms Earplugs lawyers. Or tell us your story online here to discuss your legal options with an experienced products liability attorney.

Thornton Law Firm brings claims against 3M Company, the private corporation that sold the defective CAEv2 earplugs. We do not bring claims against the U.S. government or the U.S. military.

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