3M Victims

3M manufactured and sold duel-ended Combat Arms Earplugs to all four branches of the military without disclosing defects that hampered the effectiveness of the hearing protection devices. Over 250,000 veteran military plaintiffs have filed a 3M ear plug lawsuit making this the largest multidistrict litigation (MDL) ever in United States history.

On July 26, 2018 3M Company agreed to pay 9.1 million to resolve allegations that it knowingly sold dual ended Combat Arms Earplugs (version 2) to the U.S Military. Allegations were filed under the qui tam (whistleblower) provisions of the false claims act. All settlement money went to the government. The whistleblower received $1,911,000.

The bellwether cases are handpicked test cases that are sent to trial in order to evaluate the strength of the evidence and the likely case values in order to facilitate a settlement of the remaining cases.

On March 29, 2021 the First 3M bellwether trial began. On April 30, 2021 the trial ended with U.S District Judge M. Casey Rodgers siding with the Plaintiffs against 3M awarding a $7.1 million settlement. An additional $2.1 million in punitive damages was awarded for the Plaintiffs Stephen Hacker, Lukes Estes, and Lewis Keefer.

On May 17, 2021 the 2nd bellwether trial commenced. On May 28, 2021 the federal jury in the U.S District Court for the Northern District of Florida ended. The plaintiff Dustin Combs developed tinnitus one year into his three years of service following an IED blast. The Federal Jury found there was not sufficient evidence to prove Dustin Combs wore the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs during his time in service. However, the jury did agree the ear plugs were defective.

On June 7, 2021 the 3rd Bellwether Trial commenced. On June 18, 2021 the Federal Jury sided with the plaintiff, and found 3M Company failed to provide safety warnings for its Combat Arms Earplugs. Lloyd Baker was awarded $1.7 million for past and future non-economic damages, pain and suffering, and disability.

The 4th Bellwether Trial commenced on September 20, 2021 for Plaintiff Brandon Adkins. On Friday October 1st, a Florida federal jury returned an $8.2mm verdict against 3M in the fourth bellwether trial.

A 5th Bellwether Trial is set for October 18, 2021 for the Plaintiff Michelle Blum. There are 6 additional bellwether trials scheduled from November 2021 to February 2022. If 3M loses the next 2 trials, they may decide to ask the judge to stay further proceedings while they negotiate a global settlement.

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