In Pensacola on Friday, a jury in Florida federal court ordered 3M Co to pay $ 77.5 million to a veteran of the U.S. military who said he suffered hearing loss as a result of using the company’s military-issue earplugs.
Veteran James Bill’s verdict is the largest one-man verdict in a wide-ranging case involving earplugs, with more than 290,000 claims in a Pensacola court as of May 16, the largest mass torture lawsuit in U.S. history.
The trial of the bill ended in an initial set of 16 trials to test the strength of the plaintiffs’ claims and to facilitate settlement negotiations. In the so-called Belvedere trials, the plaintiffs won 10, totaling $ 300 million. In the remaining six, the jury was in favor of 3M.
“It is clear that 3M’s defense – whether in court, to investors or to the public – is unreliable and unqualified,” the plaintiffs’ attorneys said in a joint statement.
“We are disappointed and will appeal today’s decision,” the company said in a statement “As with previous Belvedere trials, we were prevented from presenting important evidence to the jury, and we will resolve that issue among others in our appeal.”
Bill, who served in the Army from 2005 to 2009 and in the Army from 2011, said he wore Combat Arms Earplugs version 2 of the 3M while using a variety of weapons and suffered from hearing loss and tinnitus as a result.
Aero Technologies, which bought 3M in 2008, made the earplugs, which were issued to military service members between 2003 and 2015. Plaintiffs allege that the company hid design flaws, falsified test results, and failed to provide instructions for the proper use of earplugs. (Edited by David Gregorio, Reporting by Brendon Pearson, New York)