Articles Posted in 3M Earplugs

There are reports of 3M earplug settlement.  Now more than ever, veterans are asking “When is my 3M earplug case going to settle?”   They are also asked how do I opt out of a settlement because I’m not taking this offer.

In this post, we will try to explain exactly what 3M is doing, how it could potentially play out, and what impact it will have on the settlement of the thousands of pending earplug lawsuits.

As we have moved to reconfigure after the $6 billion settlement offer, this page focuses on opting out and the harsh requirements plaintiffs will have.  You can find more on the 3M earplug settlement here.  I really suggest you read as many comments to his post as you have time to read.

Yesterday, the Judge in the 3M Earplug MDL (Hon. Casey Rodgers) ruled that 3M will not be allowed to avoid liability for the earplug lawsuits and pull the MDL into bankruptcy court.

This ruling was imposed by Judge Rodgers as an unprecedented judicial sanction as punishment for 3M’s blatant misconduct and abuse of the litigation process.  But on a more basic level, it applied the principle of estoppel – you cannot take one position for years in litigation and then take a contradictory position when you come up with a new litigation tactic.

This ruling has far-reaching implications for the thousands of earplug lawsuits because it effectively nullifies 3M’s bankruptcy play, regardless of how the court rules on appeal.  Does all of this slow down justice in the 3M class action?  It does.  But it also boxes 3M into a corner where it can choose a global settlement or it can continue to be slammed by juries.

The bellwether test trials in the 3M earplugs litigation began about 15 months ago. These trials were held to evaluate the relative strength of the earplug lawsuits against 3M and give both sides an idea of what to expect if all of the cases went to trial.

Massive Beal Verdict Was Final MDL Punch

Last Friday, the 16th and final bellwether trial ended with a bang for the plaintiffs. A federal jury in Pensacola, Florida awarded $77.5 million to Army veteran James Beal. This was the largest amount awarded to an individual bellwether plaintiff so far.

Last week, the 15th bellwether trial concluded in the 3M earplug mass tort MDL. The case featured in this round was Jonathan Vaughn v. 3M Co., et al. (7:20-cv-134). After the standard 2-week trial (which has become a familiar format in the earplug bellwether cases), the jury found in favor of the plaintiff on all counts, rejected all of 3M’s affirmative defenses, and awarded $2.2 million in damages. The last trial in phase 1 of the bellwether cases will start next week.


The third bellwether test trial in the massive 3M earplug lawsuits resulted in another solid victory for the plaintiffs.  Last week the jury in the U.S District Court for the Northern District of Florida awarded Army veteran Llyod Baker $1.7 million in total damages in his lawsuit against 3M.

Like thousands of other plaintiffs in the Combat Arms earplugs litigation, Baker claimed that he suffered hearing damage (tinnitus) during his time in the Army because 3M’s earplugs were defective and failed to protect him. Baker sought to hold 3M liable under a number of different product liability theories, including:

  • Strict Liability (design defect)
Contact Information