April Lost: 3M Wins Latest Military Earplug Bellwether

A Florida federal jury found that there was no design defect in the 3M earplugs a female veteran blames for causing hearing loss while on deployments in Iraq and Kuwait, the latest bellwether verdict in the massive multidistrict litigation.

The defense verdict in the case brought by Denise Kelley, who served in the U.S. Army, was the sixth win for 3M in the 14 test trials to date. Plaintiffs have won verdicts totaling about $200 million in eight bellwether trials.

The jury, which reached its decision within hours after a nine-day trial, also found that there were no defects in the earplugs’ warnings or instructions that would have caused Kelley’s injuries.

The MDL, consolidated in 2019, includes more than 280,000 servicemembers and others who claim their hearing was damaged from using 3M’s CAEv2 earplugs, which they say were defective.

The judge overseeing the MDL has ordered the parties to prepare nearly 1,000 cases for trial this year.

Two more bellwether trials are slated to take place in the months ahead: one in mid-April and another on May 9.

LAW360: https://www.law360.com/articles/1482462/3m-wins-latest-military-earplug-bellwether

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