According to a recent pretrial order, nearly 140,000 veterans have presented claims alleging hearing loss and other injuries due to defective 3M military earplugs.
3M Company’s Dual-sided Combat Arms earplugs have been the source of severe allegations over the last few years. Servicemembers claim 3M not only made dangerously defective military earplugs but sold them to the U.S. military for years knowing they contained defects.
The 3M Dual-sided Combat arms earplugs were distributed to the U.S. military from as early as 2005 to as late as 2013. These earplugs were standard issue during this time in all branches of the U.S. military, impacting potentially tens of thousands of soldiers.
Veterans filing lawsuits against corporate behemoth 3M claim that the dual-sided earplugs contained a design flaw that failed to protect soldiers’ ears from dangerously high sound levels common to military exercises and combat zones. Many of the lawsuits filed against 3M allege the earplugs caused users to develop varying levels of hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing ears).
Across the United States thousands of former and current military members are finding their hearing loss or tinnitus were caused by dangerously defective 3M military earplugs. As 3M earplug injury lawyers continue to review and file claims, experts following these lawsuits expect thousands of additional claims to be filed in the upcoming months.
As stated in the court order, “there were 139,693 claimants registered in MDL Centrality in connection with the 3M litigation.” This means that these claimants registered with potential future claims or currently existing claims that will be brought forward in the 3M earplug litigation.
3M Earplug Litigation
Currently about 2,800 earplug injury lawsuits pend in the federal court system against 3M Company, each raising similar claims against the infamous company.
Given the common questions of fact and law raised by claims in these lawsuits, the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) established a 3M earplug federal multidistrict litigation to address the reoccurring claims. U.S. District Judge Casey Rogers now presides over these centralized claims in the Northern District of Florida.
Judge Casey selected 1% of the total registered 3M earplug claims as potential candidates for bellwether trials, or representative trials. This selection resulted in 1,397 potential candidates for bellwether trials.
The outcome of these early trial dates does not set precedence for the outcome of future trials. However, they will be closely watched to see how juries will react to certain evidence and testimonies brought forth in the trials. By the end of the bellwether process, if a 3M earplug injury settlement has not been reached, each case filed in the MDL may be eventually remanded back to the court it was originally filed in for future trial dates.