A Florida federal jury awarded $2.2 million to a service member claiming he suffered hearing loss as a result of faulty earplugs made by 3M, the 15th bellwether verdict in sprawling multidistrict litigation against the company.
The jury awarded Jonathan Vaughn, who served a tour of duty in Iraq and has been using a hearing aid since 2012, $2 million for past and future pain and suffering, inconvenience, emotional stress, and impairment of quality of life, tacking on another $200,000 award for physical impairment.
The jury found that defects in 3M’s CAEv2 earplug were the cause of Vaughn’s hearing impairment. It also found that the company was negligent and that it fraudulently misrepresented and concealed facts about the earplugs.
The MDL, consolidated in 2019, includes more than 280,000 service members and others who claim their hearing was damaged from using 3M’s CAEv2 earplugs, which they say were defective.
The largest verdict to date is $110 million, awarded to a pair of Army veterans in January, while recent trials in March ended in a $50 million verdict in favor of another Army veteran and an $8 million win for U.S. Army National Guard veteran.
Earlier this month, a Florida federal jury handed 3M its sixth win, finding that there was no design defect in the earplugs a female veteran blames for causing hearing loss while on deployments in Iraq and Kuwait.
In December, a Florida federal jury found that the company and its subsidiary, Aearo Technologies LLC, were not responsible for an Army veteran’s tinnitus and hearing loss from combat during a deployment to Iraq.
The judge overseeing the MDL has ordered the parties to prepare nearly 1,000 cases for trial this year.