Jury Finds in Favor of Veterans in First Bellwether Trial Against 3M

Jury Finds in Favor of Veterans in First Bellwether Trial Against 3M

For the past two years, Ciresi Conlin attorneys Michael Sacchet and Megan Odom have worked on behalf of thousands of injured veterans in the multi-district litigation (MDL) against 3M over its Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2), as key members of a national trial team. The veterans claim the defective earplugs failed to work as promised and caused them to suffer from hearing loss and tinnitus.

Early in the litigation, Sacchet was appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee and named Chair of the Law and Briefing Committee. Most recently, Sacchet and Odom participated in the first consolidated bellwether trial, which lasted five weeks in the Northern District of Florida.

At trial, Sacchet and Odom represented the three plaintiffs during all oral argument. Sacchet argued—and won—several motions for judgment as a matter of law. He successfully opposed 3M’s bid for directed verdict on all of Plaintiffs’ claims, allowing the jury to adjudicate Plaintiffs’ design-defect, failure-to-warn, negligence per se, warranty, misrepresentation, and fraud claims. Sacchet and Odom also led the charge in defeating several of 3M’s key defenses, including 3M’s sophisticated-intermediary and superseding-cause defenses.

The jury awarded $7.1 million in damages to the three plaintiffs, finding the CAEv2 was defectively designed, 3M had failed to warn the military and soldiers about the CAEv2’s dangers, and 3M had intentionally misrepresented the CAEv2’s safety features. The jury awarded over $6 million in punitive damages for 3M’s reprehensible conduct.  “We are proud of the work by Mike and Megan and the earplugs team in bringing justice to our veterans,” said partner Jan Conlin. Partner Michael Ciresi added, “Mike, Megan and the team did an extraordinary job in protecting our military by holding 3M accountable for the defective devices.”

Up next are two more bellwether trials, one beginning this week and another in June. Sacchet and Odom are currently preparing for the June trial.

You can read more about the case from The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Law360.