3M Earplug Lawsuit Began As A Small Patent Fight With Rival

The mountain of legal cases facing 3M Co. over its military-grade earplugs — it’s facing tens of thousands of lawsuits from veterans and potentially more than $1 billion in liability — may have its roots in a much smaller intellectual-property fight with another earplug maker.

That’s the takeaway from a report in The Wall Street Journal, which delves into the legal history behind 3M’s Combat Arms earplugs. The earplugs have drawn legal complaints from veterans who say they damaged their hearing.

But the company has lost more than half the 16 lawsuits decided so far, with damages ranging from $1.7 million to more than $75 million. 3M is appealing some of the cases, but there are tens of thousands more ahead; a judge has ordered settlement talks.

3M got into the earplug business when it bought Aearo Technologies Inc. for $1.2 billion in 2008. A few years later, the Journal

3M loses latest earplug trial, now has nine defeats and six victories

A $2.2 million verdict against 3M is the latest outcome in an ongoing legal battle over allegedly defective earplugs the company long made for the U.S. military.

3M has now lost nine and won six bellwether trials aimed at setting the groundwork for a settlement in one of the largest U.S. mass tort cases ever. With only one more bellwether trial forthcoming, a settlement still appears elusive.

A jury in the case before the U.S. District Court for northern Florida on Friday ruled in favor of Jonathon Vaughn, who served in the U.S. Army from 2006 to 2010. Vaughn, of Southside, Ala., claimed that 3M’s Combat Arms CAEv2 earplugs caused his hearing loss and tinnitus.

Damages awarded to plaintiffs — all with similar claims — amount to about $220 million.

“It is clear 3M’s defenses — whether in the courts, to investors or the public — are unconvincing and without merit,

2 vets to get $110M in 3M earplugs suit

A federal jury Thursday awarded $110 million to two U.S. Army veterans who said they had hearing damage because of combat earplugs produced by multinational manufacturer 3M.

It is the latest decision in a network of hundreds of thousands of lawsuits that accuse 3M of knowingly selling defective earplugs to the military. 3M has maintained that the since-discontinued product, which was marketed as Combat Arms earplugs, Version 2, was effective and safe to use.

The decision Thursday represented the largest sum awarded to date in the earplug litigation against 3M. The two veterans, Ronald Sloan and William Wayman, were each awarded $15 million in compensatory damages and $40 million in punitive damages by a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida.

$22.5 Million Verdict in 3M Combat Earplug Trial

A jury in Pensacola, Florida has awarded U.S. Army Veteran Theodore Finley $22.5 million in a lawsuit seeking damages for hearing loss and tinnitus caused by combat earplugs sold by 3M Co. This latest verdict surpasses seven previous verdicts, including a $13 million verdict awarded by jurors to a U.S. Army sergeant last month.

“It is always upsetting to see large, multi-billion corporations putting their profits above the safety and health of their consumers,” said Texas Attorney Thomas J. Henry. “In this case, however, we saw 3M Co. take advantage of our U.S. servicemen and women. That is simply unacceptable, and the jury’s verdict shows that the people our military members serve will not stand for it.”

3M loses latest in series of military earplug cases

A $22.5 million jury verdict against 3M is the largest penalty yet in a series of trials over allegedly defective earplugs manufactured by the Maplewood-based company.

A federal jury in Tallahassee, Fla., late last week ruled in favor of Theodore Finley, who served in the U.S. Army from 2006 to 2014. Finley alleged that he developed bilateral tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss while wearing 3M-made earplugs as he worked around weapon fire, generators, mechanized vehicles, helicopters and during training and combat.

It was the eighth ruling in a series of bellwether trials against the company, and the fifth where the plaintiff prevailed. Three juries rejected all claims against 3M.

The trials are part of what may be the largest U.S. mass tort ever, with more than 250,000 veterans

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