Military veterans around the United States have sued the manufacturers of 3M Combat Arms Earplugs V2. Their lawsuits allege the earplugs caused the loss of hearing and tinnitus they were supposed to protect against. The litigation came on the heels of the settlement of a whistleblower lawsuit that alleged 3M knowingly sold the government defective combat earplugs and that the defect decreased the protection afforded to servicemembers by the earplugs. In a whistleblower lawsuit, damages go to the government and the whistleblower. Those servicemen and women who were injured still have product liability claims pending in multidistrict litigation. Bellwether trials that give both sides a sense of whether the claims will be successful have already commenced and are scheduled through January. If you believe you suffered hearing loss or tinnitus due to the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs, it’s important to talk to our seasoned Chicago lawyers right away. Billions have been recovered in product liability lawsuits with which we’ve been involved. We represent consumers across the country.
Talk to Moll Law Group to See if You Have a 3M Claim
Multidistrict litigation gives both sides a sense of whether claims against a manufacturer are likely to be successful and give both sides a sense of the value of their cases based on how similar those cases are to ones that have already gone to trial. The 3M court ordered a series of bellwether trials. For the first trial, there were three plaintiffs: the defendant picked one of the plaintiffs, the plaintiff picked a plaintiff, and the judge picked a plaintiff. Seven bellwether trials have been conducted in total, with a recent massive victory for plaintiffs in the Finley case. It had the most sizable verdict among the bellwether trials, including a punitive damages award. The plaintiff’s award was $7.5 million in compensatory damages and $15 million in punitive damages.
The next bellwether trial in the litigation began as scheduled this month. In the trial, there are two claims being tried together. 3M had filed a motion to continue the trial earlier in January because defense counsel had tested positive for COVID-19, but this motion was denied. The judge determined that lawyers with positive tests could still come out of quarantine by January 9.
The January trial is crucial to plaintiffs hoping to see solid settlements in their 3M cases. The verdicts so far, particularly the large punitive damages award, suggest that 3M should settle cases rather than continue to try them.
Punitive damages are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is truly egregious. In the 3M litigation, it’s alleged that the manufacturer knew about the defects in the earplugs as early as 2002 and then went on to keep selling those defective earplugs for the next 13 years, harming many, many servicemembers. While there is no guarantee that punitive damages will be awarded in each case because the facts being presented at each trial vary, it is important to hold the manufacturer accountable for its reprehensible actions.
Call Our Attorneys About Your 3M Lawsuit
If you were injured because you used 3M earplugs while in service to our country, you should talk to the experienced Chicago-based product liability lawyers of Moll Law Group about whether you have a claim. We represent plaintiffs across the country. Please complete our online form or give us a call at 312.462.1700.