The Army veteran filed a lawsuit against 3M alleging the company sold defective combat earplugs to the U.S. government, and the plaintiff used these earplugs while on active duty service from 2006 to 2010. The lawsuit also blames 3M’s Combat Arms CAEv2 earplugs for causing the veteran’s tinnitus and hearing loss.
The 3M Combat Arms CAEv2 earplug trial was held in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida. Right now, thousands of earplug claims against 3M have been consolidated in Multidistrict Litigation (“MDL”) in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida. The report states that over 280,000 3M military earplug injury cases are pending against 3M. The plaintiffs’ lawsuits allege that 3M’s earplugs had a design defect, and the defect prevented the earplugs from protecting military members resulting in their tinnitus and/or hearing loss injuries.
The 3M earplug (CAEv2) was discontinued back in 2015 but was a standard issue in the military for about 12 years. In 2018, 3M settled a federal False Claims Act lawsuit and paid the U.S. government $9.1 million in compensation. The government’s whistleblower lawsuit alleged that the earplug manufacturer lied and concealed a design defect that caused the earplugs to loosen, rendering the earplugs useless.
Over the past few years, there have been 15 bellwether trials. Earplug victims have won nine of those 3M earplug bellwether trials and received more than $200 million in financial compensation. 3M has won six bellwether trials. The last bellwether trial was tried on May 19, 2022.
Phase 2 of the ongoing 3M litigation is pending. The MDL judge indicated that Phase 2 might begin with groups of plaintiffs’ cases being tried in single jury trials. The judge also ordered thousands of administrative docket cases to be converted to active docket cases. It is estimated that there are currently 42,000 3M earplug cases being readied for trial.