$8.2 Million verdict for Plaintiff in 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2)

3M Combat Earplug Trial History

Prior to this $8.2 million verdict for one plaintiff, three other cases have gone to trial against 3M for their Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2). The first trial resulted in a plaintiff’s verdict of $7.1 million for three plaintiffs in April 2021. The second trial ended in a defense verdict for 3M in May 2021. However, the third trial found 3M liable for their combat earplugs and delivered a verdict of $1.7 million for damages to one veteran for hearing loss as a result of the 3M combat earplugs. 

How did this Plaintiff’s 3M Combat Earplugs case got to trial?

Defense counsel for 3M selected the fourth “Bellwether” case, which resulted in this plaintiff’s verdict to go to jury trial. The “Bellwether” 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) cases are selected to gauge the range of damages and to potentially define a settlement option or settlement range for all 3M combat earplug plaintiffs. 

Fourth 3M Earplug Trial Summary

Recently a federal jury in the Northern District of Florida, home to the largest mass tort litigation in history, awarded one U.S. Army Veteran $8.2 milllion after finding the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) caused him to suffer tinnitus and hearing loss. This is the largest verdict yet against 3M Company and it is only the fourth trial in the Multi-District Litigation (“MDL”). 

The U.S. Army Soldier, Brandon Adkins, was awarded this verdict following jury trial, in which the Plaintiff’s counsel exposed that 3M failed to provide adequate safety warnings and the Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) had a design defect. More than 259,000 cases are pending in this MDL and some of these veterans are represented by Cannon & Associates. 

Plaintiff’s lead counsel, Bryan Aylstock of Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz; Shelley Hutson of Clark, Love & Hutson; and Christopher Seeger of Seeger Weiss, were all present in this successful fight for one veteran in this massive MDL against 3M and their Aearo combat earplugs. 

3M Earplug Plaintiff’s attorneys said, “we plan to hold 3M fully accountable for the damage they have caused to those who served our nation,” in a joint statement after the successful verdict against 3M. 

Alternatively, 3M defense counsel stated they were disappointed in the verdict and plan to “defend [3M and their combat earplugs] against plaintiffs’ allegations at all upcoming trials.” 

As Bellwether or test cases continue in this ongoing massive MDL, plaintiffs’ counsel, such as Cannon & Associates, and other counsel will continue to fight for justice for plaintiff victims of 3M for their failure to correct or notify of the defects in the Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2).

Overview of 3M Combat Earplug Lawsuit

The MDL alleges that 3M hid combat earplug design flaws, willfully altered test results and failed to provide instructions for the proper use of the Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2), which were used in combat by the U.S. Army and other forces between 2007 and 2013. 3M has maintained its denial of any liability at this point. 

The 3M combat earplugs were developed by a company named Aearo Technologies, LLC. The combat earplugs were purchased by 3M in 2008. In order for the earplugs to work properly, the flexible cup on the side of the Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) that protruded from the ear was required to be folded back, in some instances in order to provide protection. 

Plaintiffs’ in the MDL against 3M contend, including our clients, that 3M failed its duty to notify the military that the Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) were ineffective without folding appropriately and failed to notify the military of insufficient noise protection, which resulted in a settlement with the military in the amount of $9.1 million in 2018. This settlement did not address damages to individual plaintiffs, i.e. veterans that suffered hearing loss and tinnitus as a result of using the 3M combat ear plugs during combat. Rather, the settlement was solely based on 3M’s failure to disclose the defects to the military. 

Plaintiff Loss in Combat Earplug Trial

Unfortunately for another veteran, Michelle Blum, the fifth “Bellwether” plaintiffs’ case against 3M for their combat earplugs went to the defense. This most recent “Bellwether” or test case in the multidistrict litigation over the Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2).

Plaintiff’s counsel stated the following at the conclusion of the fifth test 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) trial. “We continue to believe that the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that 3M knew their CAEv2 earplugs were defective yet allowed our servicemembers who relied on them for hearing protection to suffer from preventable hearing loss and tinnitus.”

Moving Forward: 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) MDL 

3M faces over 270,000 individual plaintiffs’ claims for hearing loss, tinnitus, vertigo, and other damages as a result of their Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2). There are still many more plaintiffs in the United States with unidentified claims as U.S. military service members between 2008 and 2015 that suffered as a result of 3M’s negligence in failing to correct the design flaws in the Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2). 

At this point, plaintiffs have prevailed in three out of the five bellwether cases against 3M and juries have awarded a total of $15 million to five individual veteran plaintiffs. At this point, 11 additional trials have been scheduled. 

The MDL is In re 3M Combat Arms Earplug Products Liability Litigation, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, No. 19-md-2885. Continue to visit our website for more updates. 

Your Next Steps

Tinnitus and hearing loss are consequences of 3M’s negligence that you may never recover from, despite excellent medical care. Cannon & Associates is fighting for many clients already and we are ready to answer your questions and potentially assist you or your loved one in seeking the compensation you deserve. Founder John Cannon has been recognized as a Super Lawyer and is currently serving in the Army National Guard as a Judge Advocate. Our team of Fierce Advocates are ready to hear your story and fight for you! Contact Cannon & Associates by completing the CONTACT FORM ON THIS PAGE NOW or CALL at 405-657-2323 for answers to your questions.