May 28, 2021 Update: The jury came back with a defense verdict for the 3M today. It is a tough blow for lawyers like me hoped 3M earplug victims would win every single one of these trials. The evidence seems overwhelming. But, certainly, there will be cases where the victims cannot prove 3M’s negligence caused their injuries. I don’t believe this loss changes settlement amounts of the 3m earplug lawsuits.
3M is currently facing over 220,000 individual lawsuits by former military veterans who claim that they suffered hearing damage because of defects in 3M’s earplugs. These cases have been consolidated into a class action MDL in the Northern District of Florida. In an MDL, similar cases are consolidated for purposes of discovery. Once discovery is completed, a few individual test cases are selected for “bellwether” trials.
The results of the bellwether trials are critically important because they usually dictate the terms of a global class settlement. So far, the bellwether trials in the 3M earplugs MDL have gone extremely well for the plaintiffs. Earlier this month the first bellwether trial took place in the Federal courthouse in Sarasota. The case involved the claims of 3 individual plaintiffs, all former military servicemen in their 40s. After a lengthy trial, the jury awarded $7.1 million in total damages with each plaintiff getting around $2.5 million.