3M: Pentagon Data Shows No Hearing Loss Among Majority of Plaintiffs in Earplug Litigation -- Update
March 01 2023 - 09:45AM
Dow Jones News
By Robb M. Stewart
3M Co. said U.S. Department of Defense records for more than
175,000 plaintiffs show that the vast majority of claimants in
Combat Arms earplug litigation have normal hearing under medically
accepted standards, information included in its in Aearo
Technologies LLC subsidiary's estimation motion filed in the U.S.
Bankruptcy Court in Indianapolis.
The St. Paul, Minn.-based manufacturer of thousands of consumer
and industrial products said analysis of Pentagon audiometric data
for plaintiffs who filed claims showed that the vast majority of
claimants didn't have hearing loss according to standards from
leading medical and health organizations, including the American
Medical Association and World Health Organizations.
Co-lead counsel for the service-member and veteran plaintiffs,
however, said 3M was misrepresenting the Pentagon data. Bryan
Aylstock and Chris Seeger said that the data demonstrates that
about 85% of plaintiffs suffer from hearing loss or tinnitus, and
that of the 13 earlier jury verdicts in favor of plaintiffs, 11
under the standards 3M is looking at would be considered
unimpaired, even those who wear hearing aids.
In a statement, 3M said that nearly a quarter of the plaintiffs
with impairment under either AMA or WHO standards reported their
condition in hearing tests before they ever used the Combat Arms
It said the analysis doesn't account for other causes of hearing
loss that may have affected the percentage of servicemembers with
hearing loss, including medical conditions unrelated to noise
exposure, non-military noise exposure, hearing loss that predates a
service member's use of Combat Arms earplugs, and injuries suffered
while not wearing Combat Arms earplugs.
3M said it and Aearo would, if necessary, continue to defend
their position in the multi-district litigation, and in pursuing
Oral arguments for the appeals of the initial bellwether trials,
which include legal and evidentiary issues, are scheduled to be
held on May 1.
3M has said that its military earplugs are safe if service
members receive proper training on using them. Aearo was the
original manufacturer of the earplugs, but 3M acquired the company
in 2008. 3M pledged last summer to pay for the settlement of claims
negotiated by Aearo in bankruptcy court.
In early February, lawyers for veterans suing 3M over its
earplugs asked a federal judge to dismiss the bankruptcy filing of
Aearo that would shield the industrial conglomerate from court
In premarket trading, 3M's shares were 2.6% higher after ending
Tuesday at $107.74, down 10% so far in 2023.
Write to Robb M. Stewart at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
March 01, 2023 09:30 ET (14:30 GMT)
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