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3M Gets Verdict in Its Favor in Latest Combat Earplug Test Trial

Dec. 15, 2021, 11:13 PM

The ninth test trial over 3M Co.'s combat earplugs resulted in a defense verdict for the company and its Aearo Technologies LLC subsidiary Wednesday when a federal jury in Florida rejected a U.S. Army veteran’s hearing-loss claims.

A spate of trials in recent weeks has yielded verdicts for both sides.

“We are pleased another jury has sided with 3M and found that the CAEv2 product was safe and effective to use,” 3M said in an emailed statement at the conclusion of Carlos A. Montero’s trial in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida. “This decision is further evidence that plaintiffs will face significant challenges as they litigate the cases going forward.”

Lead counsel for service members in the large multidistrict litigation over Aearo Combat Arms version 2 earplugs said that, despite the setback, a majority of juries so far “have found that 3M’s earplugs were defective and that they are responsible for causing irreparable hearing damage to those who served our country.”

“Additionally, every jury that could award punitive damages has thus far done so, underscoring the strength of these cases and the severity of 3M’s misconduct,” they said in their own statement. The attorneys are Bryan Aylstock of Aylstock Witkin Kreis & Overholtz, PLLC; Shelley Hutson of Clark, Love & Hutson GP; and Christopher Seeger of Seeger Weiss LLP.

In addition to lead MDL counsel, Montero was represented by Philip A. Bates PA.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP; Moore, Hill & Westmoreland PA; and Dechert LLP represented the defendants.

The case is Montero v. 3M Co., N.D. Fla., No. 7:20-cv-00067, verdict 12/15/21.

To contact the reporter on this story: Martina Barash in Washington at mbarash@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Steven Patrick at spatrick@bloomberglaw.com