On Friday, October 1st, 3M was hit with a verdict of $8.2 million by a Florida federal jury covering claims by military members that 3M’s military-issue earplugs are defective in design resulting in the loss of hearing many have suffered. This is the fourth trial in large multidistrict litigation against 3M and the third to win in favor of the plaintiffs. Six more trials are scheduled for the current year, with the following one scheduled for October 18 to 29.
U.S. Army veteran Brandon Adkins’ trial in Pensacola begins a second batch in the litigation, including claims from more than 250,000 plaintiffs involved. These claims cover their use of the Combat Arms Earplug version 2 (CAEv2) made by 3M and subsidiary Aearo Technologies LLC.
A spokesman for the plaintiffs shared that, after serving in the Army from 2004 to 2009, including two tours in Afghanistan, 35-year-old Brandon Adkins now suffers from hearing loss and tinnitus.
When announcing the results of the trial, the lead plaintiff’s counsel Bryan Aylstock, Shelly Hutson, and Christopher Seeger said in a statement, “Three juries have now found 3M at fault and allowed our servicemembers to suffer these life-altering injuries. We plan to hold 3M fully accountable for the damage they have caused to those who served our nation.”
3M disagrees with the outcome and plans to continue fighting the claims, as said in a statement on its website:
“We do not believe the plaintiff met his burden of proving his allegations, and we are evaluating our legal options.
This verdict is just the first step in this litigation, with many more cases to be tried before different juries. There have been four trials so far: one jury agreed with our case in its entirety, and another found the product was not defective as part of its verdict in favor of 3M on four of the plaintiff’s five claims. We are ready to defend ourselves against plaintiffs’ allegation at all upcoming trials.”
In previous trials against 3M, the plaintiffs won a $7.1 million verdict for three servicemen in April 2021 and obtained a $1.7 million verdict for a single plaintiff in June 2021. In late May 2021, 3M was found clear of liability.
On Sept. 20, 2021, the latest trial with Brandon Adkins found the jury in his favor on strict liability claims for design defect and for failure to warn and/or instruct. It also included claims for negligent failure to warn and/or instruct after manufacture, fraudulent misrepresentation, and fraudulent concealment. According to the plaintiffs, 3M was found to be 100% liable by the jurors.