On Monday, November 15, 2021, a Florida jury awarded more than $13 million to Army Sergeant Guillermo Camarillorazo, holding 3M liable for hearing loss resulting from the use of defective earplugs in combat. The jury awarded Sgt. Guillermo $816,395 in compensatory damages and $12,245 in punitive damages. This is the largest jury verdict to date. Previous jury verdicts were in the amounts of $8.2 million, $7.1 million and $1.7 million.
The trial was held in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida. Claims against 3M are consolidated there in a Multidistrict Litigation (“MDL”).
Three days earlier another Florida jury found in favor of 3M. That Pensacola jury decided 3M was not liable for Army and Army National Guard servicemember, Joseph Palanki’s hearing loss.
There are approximately 250,000 plaintiffs in the MDL. The plaintiffs claim that 3M’s earplugs were defectively designed. They allege that the defective design prevented the earplugs from providing protection to servicemembers and that this failure led to tinnitus and/or hearing loss.
There have now been seven bellwether trials: plaintiffs have won four of the bellwether trials and 3M has claimed three defense verdicts. Nine more trials are scheduled. Three are set to begin this year and the remainder are set for 2022.
The cases are Camarillorazo v. 3M Co. et al., case number 7:20-cv-00098, and Palanki v. 3M Co. et al., case number 3:19-cv-02324, both in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida.
The MDL is In re: 3M Combat Arms Earplug Products Liability Litigation, case number 3:19-md-02885, in the same court.
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