Business News: 3M loses first court case over military earplugs.
3M Co. lost its first trial on a line of military-grade earplugs that plaintiffs accused of hearing loss. Address hundreds of thousands of similar claims. The Wall Street Journal reports that a Florida jury awarded three veterans $ 7.1 million in the case and found that Maplewood, Minnesota-based 3M failed to properly warn users about product defects.
The cause was the first of many by veterans who used Combat Arms earplugs and claimed they were too short to fit properly after a product redesign in 2000. 3M (NYSE: MMM), which has acquired Combat Arms in 2007, it settled with the United States government for $ 9.1 million, but did not admit any wrongdoing, and the company claims to have informed the government about the adaptation problems and offered an alternative solution to resolve them.
The company faces more than 200,000 damage claims. The Florida verdict, and two subsequent trials in May and June, are considered “exceptional cases” and will be used as guidelines to help resolve future complaints.
In a statement, the plaintiffs’ attorneys said, “The evidence is clear: 3M knew their earplugs were defective, but they allowed our service assistants to suffer these life-altering injuries. We don’t see the now to begin the second bellwether trial on May 17 and hold 3M accountable for the damage they have caused to those who have served our nation. “
In a statement, 3M said it believed there were “multiple grounds for appeal” and was considering its options. “We remain confident in our case and are ready to defend ourselves against the plaintiffs’ allegations in upcoming trials,” the company said.
The company said that the design of the earplugs reflects the features required by the military and that the US government not only helped create the product, but also has a responsibility to train soldiers on how to use them correctly.
The plaintiffs’ attorneys began focusing on finding earplug users following a 2018 deal 3M reached with the U.S. Department of Justice, in which the company agreed to pay $ 9.1 million, without admit any responsibility, to resolve the allegations of not disclosing the shortcomings of the product.