On Friday, a federal jury unanimously ordered 3M to pay $77.5 million to the US Army veteran. This came after the veteran accused the company of causing hearing damage that rose due to using the earplugs, which the military had issued to its personnel.
3M provides these earplugs to the army. Judge Casey Rodgers presided over the case, and the US District Court for the Northern District of Florida Pensacola Division heard the case.
A veteran of the US army, who goes by the name of James Beal, served in the military from 2005 to 2009 and in the Army Reserve until 2011. According to him, he wore 3M’s Combat Arms Version 2 earplugs during this time.
From 2003 to 2015, Aearo Technologies developed the headphones issued to the army, but 3M bought the company in 2008. Beal’s legal action against the company is the 16th trial in consolidated litigation against 3M over its earplugs.
The company has lost 10 out of 16 of these trials, taking the total amount of damages it has paid in the trials lost to more than $300 million. Multiple plaintiffs in the lawsuits have accused the company of concealing design defects, altering test results, and providing unsatisfactory instructions on using its earplugs.
Beal’s trial against the company stretched over two weeks. The federal jury awarded him compensatory damages of $5 million for tinnitus and hearing loss. On the other hand, 3M further paid $72.5 million in punitive damages.
It is pertinent to mention that 3M will appeal against the verdict and damages, along with the other nine unfavorable verdicts that it has yet to appeal.