3M was cleared of liability in the second bellwether trial in a 236,000-plaintiff class action over claims its combat earplugs didn’t protect service members’ hearing the way they were supposed to, according to counsel for both sides.
A Florida federal jury in Pensacola found that 3M was not responsible for the hearing loss of Dustin McCombs, an Afghanistan veteran who experienced an IED explosion there in 2009, starting a tinnitus problem that worsened when McCombs was stationed at Fort Richardson in Alaksa thereafter. McCombs said the earplugs made by 3M predecessor Aearo were supposed to protect him better.
In the first bellwether trial, earlier this year, a jury found 3M responsible for the injuries of three service members and awarded a total of $7.1 million.
3M has argued that the military bears responsibility for the way the earplugs were designed and delivered.