Two Earplug Litigation Trials End in Defense Victories

Libby Vish, Esq. | VP, Business Development


In the past week, 3M has declared two victories in the Earplug Litigation. The first came on Wednesday, December 15, 2021 when a Pensacola jury decided that the defendant’s earplugs were not defectively designed or unreasonably dangerous. The plaintiff was former U.S. Army soldier Carlos Montero, who served in the military for 23 years from 1995-2018 and alleged hearing loss and bilateral tinnitus.

The second defense verdict came on Friday, December 17, 2021. Plaintiff Carter Stelling alleged that the earplugs’ defective design was responsible for his hearing loss and tinnitus. Stelling served in the U.S. Army and the Kentucky Army National Guard.

This now splits the verdicts evenly between plaintiff and defense, each with five wins. Jury verdicts for plaintiffs total more than $52 million. Plaintiffs won the first, third, fourth, seventh and eighth trials.

Nearly 272,000 cases have been brought against 3M by veterans and servicemembers. The plaintiffs all similarly 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. The claims have been consolidated in a Multidistrict Litigation (“MDL”) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida.

This closes out the 2021 bellwether trials in the Earplug litigation. Six are set to take place in 2022.

The case is Montero v. 3M Co. et al., case number 7:20-cv-00067, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida. Montero was represented by Nicole Berg of Keller Lenkner LLC.

The case is Stelling v. 3M Company et al., case number 7:20-cv-00143, 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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