A U.S. Army veteran who filed an earplug lawsuit against 3M was awarded $50 million by a federal jury – the second largest verdict over these defective products.
The 3M products have been the subject of hundreds of product liability lawsuits. The veteran said he used the company’s Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 from 2006 to 2017 and that it caused his hearing loss and severe tinnitus.
Vilsmeyer served in the Army from 1999 to 2020, first as a howitzer gunner and later as a Green Beret.
Second Largest Verdict in 3M Earplug Lawsuit
This was the seventh loss for 3M in defective earplugs lawsuit cases. Lawyers for the company said they plan to appeal the verdict. This latest jury award is the second-largest relating to 3M earplugs. In January, a federal jury awarded $110 million to two Army veterans who said they suffered hearing damage due to these products.
So far, more than 280,000 former and current members of the U.S. military have sued 3M over the earplugs. Plaintiffs allege the company concealed design flaws, doctored test results, and failed to provide proper instructions on how to use them. As a result, these service members were not protected as they should have been in combat by the earplugs.
Defective Products and Accountability
In 2006, the U.S. government entered into a contract with 3M. According to earplug lawsuits filed on behalf of affected servicemembers, the company supplied about 15,000 earplug packages each year with 50 pairs per package at a guaranteed price of at least $9 million in sales for the year. The earplugs were sold to the military until 2015, when 3M discontinued the product. But, the defective earplugs, which failed to protect service members during combat, were not recalled. They were used by soldiers and other vendors, according to the lawsuits.
These cases are particularly outrageous because they involve products that were supposed to protect our military members. Loss of hearing is a catastrophic injury resulting in a lifelong disability. In such cases, injured victims may be able to file a product liability lawsuit seeking compensation for damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, loss of life’s enjoyment, permanent injury, disability, and pain and suffering.
Victims and their families would be well advised to contact an experienced product defect lawyer who will remain on their side, fight for their rights and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected when filing an earplug lawsuit against 3M.