3M loses third earplug case

As Tropical Storm Claudette was approaching the northern Gulf of Mexico last Friday, a federal jury in Pensacola awarded an Army veteran $1.7 million after finding that 3M Co failed to provide adequate safety warnings for its combat earplugs.

The ultimate amount that 3M paid to Lloyd Baker will be smaller since the jury determined the company only 62% liable.

The case was the third bellwether case among the more than 230,000 claims by veterans and service members over the 3M earplugs, known as Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2, in the Florida court.

The first trial resulted in a verdict of $7.1 million for three plaintiffs in April, while 3M prevailed in the second in May.

The three decisions are in bellwether cases, meaning they are chosen among the quarter of million similar cases to ferret out the strength and weaknesses of the claims and possibly lead to a settlement.

3M has asserted its Combat Arms Earplug Version 2 product has always been safe and effective to use.