Jury Awards $8.2 million to Soldier in 3M Military Earplugs Case

Pensacola, Fla. – Another federal jury has found 3M liable for producing defective earplugs that caused our nation’s veterans to suffer from hearing loss and tinnitus.

On October 1, 2021, jurors awarded $8.2 million to Army veteran Brandon Adkins of Washington, marking the third trial in which plaintiffs have been awarded money from 3M to compensate for injuries caused by the defective earplugs. Of the four bellwether trials held thus far, only one  has resulted in a verdict for 3M.

More than 250,000 current and former military personnel have filed suit against 3M for producing and distributing the faulty earplugs to all branches of our military between 2003 and 2015. The dual-sided earplugs were supposed to protect soldiers’ hearing in both combat and training situations, but 3M never disclosed that design flaws prevented the earplugs from meeting their stated specifications for sound reduction. As a result, hundreds of thousands of military personnel used the defective earplugs in Iraq, Afghanistan and other military installations throughout the world.

The Adkins trial was the first of eight planned bellwether trials scheduled this fall in courtrooms in Tallahassee and Pensacola. Judge Casey Rodgers has enlisted five additional federal judges to start hearing earplugs cases and has indicated that an additional five military earplugs trials will be scheduled for early 2022.

The next trial is scheduled to take place later this month.

RPWB represents approximately 1,100 plaintiffs in the litigation. RPWB member Beth Burke is in the leadership of the national military earplugs case against 3M, which is now the largest multidistrict litigation in American history. Burke is co-chair of the plaintiff steering committee.

Current and former military personnel who used 3M’s dual-sided Combat Arms earplugs and developed hearing loss or tinnitus may be eligible for compensation. The earplugs have a distinctive design in which one side is yellow and the other is olive green. However, their time to file may be running out. Please give us a call at 1-888-855-9481 or fill out the form on this webpage to begin a free, no-obligation case review. You can also visit our Combat Arms Earplugs page for more information.

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    Jury Returns $7 million Verdict Against 3M in Military Earplugs Lawsuit

    Jurors in the first military earplug lawsuit returned a $7 million verdict that included more than $6 million in punitive damages against 3M for selling the military faulty earplugs.

    Combat Arms earplugs were widely used in the military between 2003 and 2015. The design of the earplugs made it difficult for service members to get the earplugs to fit correctly, causing hearing loss and tinnitus. So far, more than 200,000 service members from all branches of the military have filed lawsuits against 3M for knowingly selling earplugs that did not provide adequate hearing protection. The company is accused of hiding design flaws, manipulating test results and failing to instruct the military how the earplugs should be used.

    The dual-sided plugs were supposed to provide two levels of ear protection: one side was intended to block all noise and the other was intended to protect the eardrums from gunfire and explosions while still allowing soldiers to communicate freely. The failure of the dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs to protect soldiers’ ears has resulted in high incidences of tinnitus (ringing or buzzing of the ears) as well as partial or full hearing loss. Those suffering from hearing problems as a result of the earplugs while in combat or training may be eligible for compensation.

    With the next bellwether trial looming in mid-May, there is limited time for affected service members who do not yet have a lawyer to join the lawsuit. RPWB represents current and former military personnel who enlisted between 2002 and 2015, used the ear plugs and were diagnosed with tinnitus and/or hearing loss. Potential clients include service men and women who were deployed to combat zones, notably Iraq and Afghanistan.

    RPWB serves on the leadership team for the national military earplug lawsuit against 3M. We represent service members throughout the United States. If you or a loved one were diagnosed with hearing loss or tinnitus as a result of using these faulty military earplugs, please call us at 1-888-855-9481 or fill out the form below to begin your free, no obligation case review.

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