Pensacola, Florida– A news article posted on law360.com reports that a Florida federal jury awarded three army veterans with a $7.1 million verdict in the country’s first bellwether trial involving defective combat earplugs causing tinnitus and hearing loss. According to the report a jury in Pensacola, Florida, found for the plaintiffs, three former service members who alleged that Acari LLC and 3M supplied the department of the fence with defective combat earplugs called “CAEv2S.” The servicemembers lawsuit alleged that the air plugs did not protect them against hearing loss in tinnitus while on the battlefield or during training as they were intended.
According to details provided about the jury award, each service member received $2.1 million and punitive damages. The jury also awarded $160,000 more 21 servicemember who sustained by lateral tinnitus in 2006. Another servicemember, received an additional $350,000 for medical costs, pain and suffering, lost standings, hearing loss, and ringing in both ears starting in 2014. The third service man was awarded an additional $320,000 for losing his hearing, lost earnings, medical costs, in pain and suffering.
According to the plaintiffs lawyers the three servicemen showed tremendous courage when they stood up against a large corporation such as 3M on behalf of all veterans who are suffering with hearing loss and tinnitus which would’ve been preventable had the combat earplugs worked.
According to the news article this jury trial began back on March 29, 2021. The news article also stated that the United States military did interact with the manufacturers to help develop the air plug. However, the first trial nearly 240,000 additional claims that are currently in multi district Litigation. The service members quart room victory paves the way for future hearing loss and tinnitus lawsuits.
Attorneys for 3M argued that it is the military who bears responsibility and liability for the design and delivery of the ear plugs. However, US District Judge M. Casey Rogers ruled That 3M is not permitted to tell the jury during a trial that the federal government directed, dictated, approved, or otherwise use this discretion concerning the military specifications or discuss anything regarding the content of warnings or instructions.
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