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 and military personnel alleging they suffered hearing loss while using the Combat Arms CAEv2 earplugs. The plaintiffs say 3M knew the earplugs were defective and that it failed to properly warn them of alleged flaws.