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3M Combat Earplugs Lawsuits

We are accepting 3M Combat Earplug hearing loss and tinnitus clients.

272,000+ claims against 3M are consolidated in a Multidistrict Litigation from injured veterans and service members. They claim that 3M’s earplugs were defectively designed and prevented the earplugs from providing adequate hearing protection and led to tinnitus and/or hearing loss. There have now been eleven bellwether trials. Plaintiffs have won six of the bellwether trials.  Five more trials are set for 2022.

$110 Million Verdict

$110 million was awarded by a federal jury on January 27, 2022 to two army veterans, holding 3M liable for hearing loss caused by defective earplugs used in combat. U.S. Army Soldiers Ronald Sloan and William Wayman were each awarded $15 million in compensatory damages and $40 million each in punitive damages.

 $22 Million Verdict

$22 million was awarded in December 2021 to U.S. Army Soldier Theodore Finley who served for eight years and suffered hearing loss due to the defective earplugs worn in combat.

$8.2 Million Verdict

$8.2 million was awarded to Army veteran Brandon Adkins against 3M for hearing loss and tinnitus he sustained after using 3M Combat Dual-Ended earplugs during his military service. On October 2, 2021, the Florida jury found 3M responsible for the hearing damage caused by the defective earplugs issued to soldiers during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

$7.1 Million Verdict

$7.1 million was awarded to three Army veterans against 3M for hearing loss by a Florida jury on May 8, 2021. Luke Estes, Stephen Hacker, Lewis Keefer sustained multiple damages after wearing 3M Combat dual-ended earplugs.

$1.05 Million Verdict

$1.05 million was awarded to Army veteran, Lloyd Eugene Baker, on Jun 7, 2021, by a Florida jury.  The jurors found 3M responsible for hearing loss sustained during his military service after using 3M Combat dual-sided earplugs.

What Is The Earplug Defect?

Aearo Technologies designed and manufactured the earplugs to provide two options for sound reduction: the olive-colored end is supposed to block all sound like a traditional earplug; the yellow end is supposed to greatly reduce loud noises, but still allow the wearer to hear spoken orders or approaching enemy combatants. In a whistleblower lawsuit, the plaintiffs’ claimed the earplugs can loosen in the wearer’s ear, because the stem is too short and loosens the seal.

Our soldiers thought they were protected from dangerous levels of noise, but they were actually at risk for hearing loss and tinnitus. The earplugs were originally manufactured by Aearo Technologies, which was acquired by 3M in 2008. This design defect was known to 3M but was not disclosed to the Department of Defense. 3M may have manipulated test results to make it appear the earplugs met government standards.

In July of 2018, the United States Department of Justice announced that 3M had agreed to pay $9.1 million to resolve allegations that they knowingly sold the Dual-Ended Combat Arms™ Earplugs, Version 2 to the U.S. military without disclosing defects that hampered the effectiveness of the hearing protection device.

Who Used Combat Arms Earplugs?

3M supplied several military bases across the country. The company’s South Carolina plant supplied earplugs to several local bases that trained soldiers for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These bases included: Shaw Air Force Base, the Marine Corp Recruiting Depot at Parris Island, the Naval Weapons Station Charleston and Fort Jackson. Aearo won an exclusive contract bid to supply the military with its dual-sided earplugs from 2003 to 2012.

After 3M bought Aearo in 2008, it took over the contract and continued to supply ear protection to thousands of soldiers in the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines. Moldex began selling its BattlePlugs in 2012 after winning the military contract from 3M, but 3M continued to produce its dual-ended Combat Arms earplugs until 2015.

Top Five Questions 

1.Q. Have there been any jury verdicts?

A. Yes! The plaintiffs have won three verdicts for five plaintiffs in the amounts of $8.2 million, $1.7 million and $7.1 million for three plaintiffs. The defense has won two verdicts. We are preparing for trial now, which will begin in a few weeks and trusting the jury will do the right thing and render a favorable result for the plaintiff. The verdicts follow:

Bellwether Trials Plaintiff(s) Verdict
1. May 8, 2021 Luke Estes, Stephen Hacker, Lewis Keefer $7.1 million verdict
2. May 28, 2021 Dustin McCombs Defense verdict
3. June 7, 2021 Lloyd Eugene Baker $1.7 million verdict
4. September 10, 2021 Brandon Adkins $ 8.2 million verdict
5. October 18, 2021 Michelle Marie Blum


2.Q. How much does it cost to review a case?

A. Nothing! Reviews by our medical legal team are FREE. We advance the costs necessary to investigate and file the claim, if the case appears to have merit. Costs advanced are reimbursed to us at the case’s conclusion, after we make a financial settlement. If your case does not settle, we charge you nothing as a fee or expenses

3. Q. How much is my claim worth?

A. There are many factors to consider in a product liability lawsuit. Each case is evaluated based upon the injuries caused by the product and the liability associated with the product. Much of this evidence is contained in the medical records.  It is reasonable to assume that, that if there is little or no record of injuries and treatment, that claim will not have an evaluation for high compensation. Conversely, if the records contain significant evidence showing there are injuries and treatment that are caused by the product, that claim will have an evaluation for higher compensation.

4. Q. Are all the settlements the same?

A. No. Each case is settled based upon its own merits and criteria that can be proved caused your injuries. The type of hearing loss, tinnitus, or other hearing defects caused by the product is determined by your own individual records. The plaintiffs must prove that each of the products are defective and dangerous, that the defective products caused the injuries and damages associated with each of the products, and the manufacturers failed to warn of the dangers of the products. Developing the defective and dangerous product liability portion of the cases takes months to years in trials and involves hundreds of depositions and hours in document research and medical review.  Bellwether cases are chosen by the judge and the verdicts in those cases assist with the settlement criteria. The cases are evaluated based on the evidence contained in the supporting records and military documents. Clients do not have to agree to any settlement offer.

5. Where are the lawsuits filed?
A. The cases are consolidated in 3M Combat Arms Earplug Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2885 before Judge M. Casey Rodgers in Northern Florida and a smaller group of cases are filed in Minnesota. We file cases in state courts, federal district courts and other courts with jurisdiction. Most of the mass tort cases follow Multi-District Litigation (MDL), which consolidates all cases filed in the U.S. into one court selected by a panel of U.S. Federal judges’ who believe common facts and issues should be centralized to further the just and efficient conduct of the litigation. However, when the MDL is dismantled, or there are special circumstances, we may file the cases in other courts. Each judge determines how the cases will proceed in that court according to the state or federal rules of procedure.

There are time limits in each state to file a claim so contact us now before your deadline passes. We look forward to working with you in your claim for compensation. Call us toll free at 1-800-814-4540.





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