Three Army veterans have been awarded $7.1 million in damages over defective 3M earplugs. A federal jury in Florida found that 3M Co. failed to warn about design flaws in earplugs widely sold to the U.S. military that ultimately caused hearing loss. More than 230,000 service personnel have sued 3M, claiming that the manufacturer knew its Combat Arms earplugs (CAEv2) were defective and yet sold them anyway without warnings.

Meshbesher & Spence attorney, Genevieve Zimmerman, was appointed to the Plaintiffs Executive Committee by Judge Rogers in May 2019.

American soldiers used the flawed 3M earplugs for many years in combat and in training missions. 3M acquired Aearo Technologies, the original makers of the earplugs, in 2008. 3M stopped selling the product in 2015, but argued that the product was properly designed, worked as intended and was not responsible for any hearing loss.

During the trial, attorneys shared evidence that Aearo Technologies knew years ago that one of the flaps in the earplug was too short, creating a issue with proper fitting. The military veterans argued that Aearo Technologies, and later 3M, failed to warn the military about the findings of its own lab and test results.

Litigation regarding these allegations first opened in 2018, after 3M agreed to pay U.S. military branches $9.1 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit.

That settlement, in which 3M did not admit guilt, opened the door for individual veterans to sue 3M. Lawsuits have since poured in from veterans across the country.