3M ordered to pay $ 50 million to Army veteran in earplugs lawsuit

An Army veteran who claimed earplugs made by 3M caused him to suffer hearing damage was awarded $ 50 million by a federal jury Friday, the second-largest verdict related to the product, which has been the subject of hundreds of lawsuits.

The Pensacola, Florida jury sided with Luke Vilsmeyer, who used 3M’s Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 from 2006 to 2017, resulting in hearing loss and severe tinnitus, Reuters reported. Vilsmeyer served in the Army from 1999 to 2020, first as a howitzer gunner and later as a Green Beret.

The verdict was the seventh trial loss for 3M, the Saint Paul, Minnesota-based manufacturer. FOX Business has reached out to the company.

“It is clear 3M’s defenses – whether in the courts, to investors, or the public – are unconvincing and without merit,” the plaintiffs’ lawyers said in a joint statement.

Lawyers for 3M said they were disappointed in the judgment and plan to appeal.

The 3M logo was seen at its global headquarters in Maplewood, Minnesota, US on March 4, 2020. On Friday, a federal jury in Florida awarded an Army veteran $ 50 million over the company’s alleged defective earplugs. (REUTERS / Nicholas Pfosi / File Photo)

“The same issues raised in our earlier appeals relating to legal defenses and evidentiary rulings apply in this trial,” the company said.

Friday’s judgment is the second-largest related to earplugs produced by 3M. In January, a federal jury awarded $ 110 million to two Army veterans who claimed they suffered hearing damage because of the product.

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More than 280,000 former and current military members have sued 3M over the earplugs in what has become the federal mass tort litigation in US history, the news outlet reported. Plaintiffs allege the company hid design flaws, doctored test results and failed to provide proper instructions on how to use them.

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