3M Earplug Lawsuit Average Payout
3M’s earplugs have caused significant problems for U.S. service personnel, prompting thousands of lawsuits. The earplugs were purchased as part of a contract between the military (mostly the U.S. Army) and 3M. After being distributed to millions, many users of the earplugs reported that the devices did not provide sufficient protection from loud noises. The earplugs were given to military personnel in the Afghanistan, Gulf, and Iraq wars.
3M has taken on lawsuits over its earplugs and has suffered multiple significant losses in court. Although there is no guarantee, these courtroom decisions may influence the company’s decision to settle the hundreds of thousands of lawsuits out of court.
What Kind of Compensation Can You Expect from the 3M Earplug Lawsuit?
No one can definitively say what the 3M earplug lawsuit average payout amount is. We can, however, look at past court cases for a possible barometer of ranges. Each case is different, and each wearer’s experience and subsequent injuries are unique. Because the injuries and circumstances surrounding each plaintiff’s case vary greatly, any potential payouts will come with a wide range.
As with some past cases of this type, there is a possibility of what is called a “global payout.” If this happens, financial compensation will be distributed based on different tiers. If you are a plaintiff in a lawsuit against 3M, your potential compensation will depend greatly on the extent of your damages and how you were injured.
As of this writing, 3M has not discussed settlement possibilities with opposing counsel. To get an idea of what plaintiffs may expect, we can examine mass tort cases from the past.
Plaintiffs alleged the weed killer chemical Roundup was responsible for causing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer affecting the lymphatic system. Bayer, Roundup’s parent company, has settled some lawsuits over the product. The company set aside about $10 billion in anticipation of payouts for these plaintiffs.
While plaintiffs have not yet received their compensation, The New York Times estimates that plaintiffs might receive between $5,000 and $250,000 in damages. As with other similar lawsuits, individual payouts will vary based on each person’s unique circumstances.
Johnson & Johnson
There are about 38,000 cases against Johnson & Johnson dating back to 2014. The lawsuits allege the company’s talcum powder-based products cause cancer. There have been some multimillion-dollar awards to plaintiffs in individual cases.
Cancer causes pain and suffering at a substantially higher level than that of the plaintiffs in the 3M earplug cases. The 3M lawsuits also outnumber the Johnson & Johnson lawsuits by nearly tenfold.
Because of these two factors, experts predict the 3M lawsuit compensation packages will not approach the levels of those in the Johnson & Johnson cases. But it does show how seriously both juries and judges are taking product liability lawsuits.
How Much Are Veterans Getting for Their 3M Earplugs Lawsuit?
Decisions in recent 3M cases have been roughly split, with plaintiffs and defendants each claiming victory in multiple trials. An award of $7.1 million was the first plaintiff victory in 3M lawsuits. On April 30, 2021, three army service personnel saw their trial end in a win for the plaintiff’s side. The three veterans split the awards equally between them.
Very recently, another 3M trial saw a victory for plaintiffs, as The New York Times reports. William Wayman and Ronald Sloan, two U.S. veterans, were collectively awarded $110 million in January 2022. They were each awarded $15 million in compensatory damages and $40 million in punitive damages to punish 3M. The verdict, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, is the largest plaintiff award thus far.
3M Plans to Appeal, But No Case Outcome Guaranteed
As with other similar Mass Tort lawsuits, both plaintiffs alleged they suffered from tinnitus and saw the quality of their daily lives decline after they used the earplugs. As is typical in these verdicts, 3M declared its intention to appeal the verdict. The court victories so far for plaintiffs demonstrate some jurists want to seek justice for plaintiffs they feel were damaged by 3M’s defective products. But not every court case has resulted in a victory for plaintiffs.
As you continue reading, remember that no trial result from the past can accurately predict the result from a future trial. Every trial has its own ebb and flow. Each case depends on how each side presents its case and how each jury feels about the facts presented during the trial.
Additional VA compensation
Veterans who want to recover damages from their earplug injuries can seek help from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Currently, disability compensation is available to 3M wearers from the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA). The VBA states that a 30% loss of hearing (or greater) qualifies veterans for compensation. Those satisfying the 30% hearing loss criteria each receive a monthly payment of $467.39, per the 2022 veterans disability compensation rates.
How Many People Are in the 3M Earplug Lawsuit?
Currently, about 300,00 plaintiffs have sued 3M over its earplugs, claiming they are defective. Their suits claim they suffered hearing loss and tinnitus because the earplugs did not adequately protect their hearing from loud noises, such as explosions from military munitions or heavy machinery.
How Long Will the 3M Earplug Lawsuit Take?
Currently, no timetable is set for a 3M earplug settlement. Remember, there is no guarantee a settlement will come. Without a definitive settlement, we must look again to past trials to paint a picture of possible outcomes. By examining past mass tort cases and the outcomes of recent individual 3M cases, we may have an educated guess to a timeline for resolution.
3M is likely using these individual trials, called “bellwether trials,” as a way to “test the waters” of how future trials may proceed if the company decides to stay with the individual trial strategy. The individual trials also serve as a window to possible settlement outcomes.
If 3M suffers significant losses in court, it may decide to start settlement discussions faster. Large corporations that suffer multiple defeats in individual trials sometimes move toward what is called “global settlement” talks faster to ease losses and continued negative press.
How Global Settlements Work
When a company faces hundreds or even thousands of cases, they are referred to as mass tort cases. Because of the sheer number of cases and the complexity of the legal proceedings, cases can take years to be decided. To move toward a faster conclusion, some attorneys opt for global settlements instead of trying individual cases in court.
Legal analysts estimate from one to years for global settlements. They base these numbers on past cases with similar circumstances. If enough plaintiffs are victorious in their trials against 3M, the company might consider a global settlement sooner.
Settlements of any kind often include a lot of negotiation between attorneys for both parties. Still, there is no guarantee that a settlement will be discussed, let alone reached.
Bayer Changed Direction After Case Losses
Consider Bayer’s Roundup cases. After several individual cases resulted in defeat for the company, Bayer finally decided to approach the plaintiffs’ attorneys to discuss settlement. But this decision only came after years of losing several individual cases.
Another mitigating factor is the several lawsuits involving plaintiffs who decided not to join the global settlement. Bayer is now forced to see these cases through in court.
3M Earplug Lawsuit Settlement
After issuing 2.2 million Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2), to military personnel, 3M finds itself bearing the brunt of roughly 300,000 lawsuits. In addition to the verdicts mentioned earlier in this report, other significant results have been logged. Examples include:
$22.5 Million Verdict in the Theodore Finley Case
Military veteran Theodore Finley alleged 3M’s defective earplugs led to his hearing loss and tinnitus. After serving in combat and training situations in the U.S. Army from 2006 to 2014, he believed 3M’s earplugs would shield him from hearing loss. As a member of military personnel, he was exposed to loud noises, including weapons fire, large mechanical vehicles, generators, and more.
His case alleged 3M knew the company’s earplugs were faulty but sold them to the U.S. Army anyway. The jury found in Finley’s favor, awarding him $22 million. Finely received $7.5 million as compensation for his pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment in life. He was also awarded $15 million in punitive damages as punishment to 3M for knowingly selling defective products.
$13 Million Verdict in the Guillermo Camarillorazo Case
With strong medical evidence, current Army sergeant Guillermo Camarillorazo saw his case succeed in court. The jury awarded U.S. Army Sgt. Guillermo Camarillo Razo $13,062,320.
Compensatory damages (loss of enjoyment in life, pain, suffering) made up part of the award, while the other part was punitive damages that intended to punish 3M for knowingly selling defective products.
3M Earplugs Background Information
Aero Technologies created an earplug designed to work two different ways. When inserted in one direction, the earplugs were claimed to block all noise, protecting users from hearing loss when they were near explosions or heavy machinery. If the user inserted the earplugs the other way, the device was supposed to still protect the user from hearing loss yet allow for conversations between users.
In 2003, the U.S. military contracted with Aearo Technologies to supply “Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2.” Most of the earplugs were used by the U.S. Army personnel.
Company sued 3M Over Earplugs in 2008
3M purchased Aearo Technologies in 2008. From 2008 to 2015, 3M continued to supply the U.S. Department of Defense with hundreds of thousands of these earplugs. Military personnel used the earplugs globally, including in Afghanistan and Iraq. The products were used in training exercises and active combat situations.
In 2016, Moldex-Metric filed sued 3M. As the manufacturer of a similar product, its lawsuit alleged 3M’s earplugs were defective. In June 2018, 3M settled out of court. The company paid $9.1 million to settle what is called a “False Claims” lawsuit. This case was brought by someone alleging 3M was aware of the earplug faults even as it continued to sell them.
After settling the lawsuit, 3M spokespeople asserted the company only settled to avoid further negative press. 3M also insisted it had met the specifications of its contract.
Filing a 3M Lawsuit and How Contingency Fees Work
If you meet the qualifications for filing a case against 3M, you may choose to have a Mass Tort Lawsuit attorney represent your interests against 3M. In liability cases like this, some lawyers set up contingency fee agreements instead of upfront retainers.
Personal injury lawyers generally work on a client’s case on contingency. Under this payment arrangement: the attorney’s law firm receives no fees unless it wins the case, either in an out-of-court settlement or a trial victory in court. The attorney then receives a percentage of the damages awarded to the plaintiff.
Get Legal Counsel on a 3M Earplug Lawsuit from an Attorney’s Office
Large corporations like 3M have attorneys who understand the law, how to find loopholes, and manipulate details. The paperwork and court proceedings can be intimidating to laypeople. A product liability attorney can guide you through the lawsuit process. By taking over the lawsuit, an attorney can relieve you of stress and frustration. While there is no average 3M earplug lawsuit payout yet, an attorney can determine what a payment could look like if you win your case.
Our Mass Tort Lawsuit attorney network raises awareness for consumers who have been compromised by faulty or dangerous products. If you would like help with a 3M earplug case or another mass torts case, you can call 1.844.448.6787 or fill out the contact form for a free consultation. You are under no obligation to move past the case evaluation. We are here to help you understand your legal options.