Cellino Law has previously brought you news of the ongoing litigation involving the 3M combat earplugs that promised to muffle gunfire and explosions while allowing servicemembers to hear and execute commands during field operations and training. 3M had previously paid $9.1 million to settle whistleblower claims that the earplugs failed to protect servicemembers as promised. Cellino Law also reported that nearly 230,000 individual servicemembers had filed lawsuits seeking justice for the hearing loss and tinnitus that they suffered when the earplugs failed to perform as promised.
On March 29, 2021, three of these servicemembers became the first wave of plaintiffs arguing that 3M knowingly provided them defective gear that injured them under normal service conditions. On April 29, 2021, these servicemembers and 3M presented their closing arguments to the jury. 3M continued to argue that the military and service members had caused the injuries, blaming the victims who relied on their issued equipment for normal field operations. The servicemembers argued common sense: that their military branches relied on 3M’s promises and they used them as directed in the performance of their duties.
By their lunchtime break on April 30, 2021, the jury returned its unanimous verdict: 3M injured each of the servicemember plaintiffs through its defectively designed earplugs, falsified data, and failed to provide their contractually promised ear protection. The jury awarded $7,130,500.00 in damages, including $2.1 million in punitive damages to each of the plaintiffs. Notably, punitive damages serve specifically to punish a wrongdoer, a penalty in excess of the actual harm caused by the severity of 3M’s conduct.
Hearing loss is the leading disability resulting from service. Three servicemembers unnecessarily placed at risk for this injury have now won the first victory. The court has calendared two additional trials in short order, continuing this campaign for servicemember justice for the nearly 240,000 remaining victims of 3M combat earplug failures. Cellino Law proudly includes servicemember attorney members representing other servicemembers in this litigation. We welcome your inquiries regarding this litigation and would be honored to represent you as well.