3M is accused of hiding design flaws, fudging test results and failing to provide instruction in the proper use of the earplugs, which were in use by the U.S. Army between 2007 and 2013. 3M denies the allegations. As the 3M Earplug case moves through bellwether trails, there may be some misinformation circulating on the progress of the case. The case is moving along and we are focused on its progress, so we can keep you updated.
The "Ear Plug Case" against 3M is No. 19-md-2885, In re 3M Combat Arms Earplug Products Liability Litigation in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida, and is overseen by U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers. 3M is facing more than 230,000 claims by veterans and service members over the earplugs known as Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2. 3,349 veterans and servicemembers have filed lawsuits in the case thus far.
This year there have been four bellwether trials, Bellwether trials are used to help both sides gauge the range of damages and define settlement options.
On April 30, 2021, the first bellwether trail resulted in $7.1 million verdict for three bellwether plaintiffs, including $2.1 million in punitive damages for each of the first three bellwether plaintiffs, and $830,500 in compensatory damages for their medical expenses, lost earnings and pain and suffering.
On May 17, 2021, the second bellwether trial ended in a technical victory for 3M, as the jury did not find the manufacturer responsible for the plaintiff's hearing loss.
On June 18, 2021, the third bellwether trial resulted in a $ 1.7 million verdict, but the jury found 3M only 62% liable for failing to provide adequate warnings for the earplugs.
On October 1, 2021, the forth bellwether trial jury awarded a $8.2 million verdict against 3M, after finding that combat earplugs sold by 3M Co, cause the veteran to suffer hearing loss and tinnitus. The jurors in this trial found that the earplugs had a design defect and that 3M failed to provide adequate safety warnings.
Judge Rodgers, who is overseeing the 3M MDL, recently ruled that the claims brought by the plaintiff set for the fifth bellwether trial, who suffered hearing damage during her service in the Army Reserves and National Guard from 1989 - 2009, were not time-barred. The fifth bellwether case, therefore, is able to proceed to trial on October 18, 2021.
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