A Federal Court jury in Pensacola, Florida awarded three military members $7.1 million in damages against 3M and Aearo Technologies for injuries they sustained as a result of the Defendants’ marketing of defective combat earplugs. This trial was the first bellwether trial in what is likely the largest mass tort claim in U.S. History. More than 230,000 military members have sued 3M in this case.

The CAEv2 earplugs were designed to have one side that blocked all noise, and another that would block harmful noise like explosions, but allow the user to hear voice commands. Plaintiffs successfully argued to a jury that Aearo Technologies knew from lab testing that the flaps in the earplugs were too short, and that would lead to an improper fit. They allegedly failed to warn the military of this defect. When 3M acquired Aearo in 2008, they too allegedly failed to warn the military or service-members themselves of this defect.

“The evidence is clear: 3M knew their earplugs were defective, yet they allowed our service members to suffer these life-altering injuries,” plaintiff attorneys said in a statement Friday. Attorneys for 3M indicated that they planned to appeal the decision. However, a second bellwether trial is scheduled for May 17 in Pensacola.

If you, or someone you know, was in the military, used these earplugs, and suffered hearing loss or tinnitus, there may still be time to file your case. Please contact me and I will sit down with you for free to go over your case.