3M Earplug Lawsuit Update
As seen in the news, 3M Company, one of the largest companies in the United States (commonly known for Scotch tape, scratch pads, pet hair rollers, and a whole lot more!) is being sued by veterans across the country who used 3M earplugs to protect against hearing loss.
The United States government filed a lawsuit against 3M in 2018, alleging that 3M sold these earplugs to the U.S. Military with the knowledge that they didn’t work. In legal speak, the earplugs were “defective.” To settle the case, 3M paid the United States $9.1 million.
Despite what a lot of people on social media and elsewhere seem to believe, the $9.1 million settlement was not distributed amongst service members who sustained hearing loss because of the defective 3M earplugs. The money went to the U.S. government and the whistleblower who outed 3M.
Bellwether Trials for Service Members
So what happens with the tens of thousands of servicemen and women who have permanent hearing loss and tinnitus due to defective earplugs? The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida (in Pensacola) is overseeing a process called Multidistrict Litigation (MDL). This is not the same thing as a class action, in which one case is brought on behalf of thousands of individuals.
In an MDL, thousands of individuals bring individual cases, and then “test cases” are tried before the Court to help shape the eventual settlement of the remaining thousands of cases. These “test cases” are also called “bellwether cases” or “bellwether trials.”
Some of these “bellwether cases” have resulted in verdicts over the last few months, which bode well for the servicemen and women. The first involved three plaintiffs and resulted in a $7.1 million verdict against 3M. The second trial resulted in a verdict for the defense. The third resulted in another verdict for the plaintiff at $1.7 million.
These plaintiff verdicts mean:
- 3M was aware they were selling defective earplugs to our servicemen and women to use in training and combat.
- Our servicemen and women deserve to be compensated for the loss of their hearing and how it affects their lives.
The next set of bellwether cases will be tried in September 2021. Eventually, after all the bellwether cases are tried, an attempt will be made to settle the remaining thousands of individual cases -- all overseen by the Court in Florida.
For those with a potential 3M Defective Earplug case:
- Hold on to your 3M earplugs (CAEv2) used during your injury if you still have them
- Gather any photos or videos showing you wearing the CAEv2 earplugs
- Make a list of the base(s) you served on while using your CAEv2 earplugs
- Summarize your exposure to IEDs or EFPs during your service
- Keep a copy of your DD Form 214 and any other military paperwork dealing with hearing loss, discharge, or service-related disability
- Gather your medical records that show the treatment you’ve received for your hearing loss or other hearing issues
Your 3M Earplug Attorney
If you or someone you know used these 3M earplugs in the military between 2003 and 2015 and sustained hearing loss, now deal with tinnitus, or any other hearing impairment, it’s time to contact a personal injury attorney who understands the litigation against 3M. Bailey | Stock | Harmon | Cottam | Lopez LLP is ready to help you get the compensation that you deserve.
Please call Attorney Doug Bailey at (307) 222-4932 right away for a free consultation.