3M Military Combat Arms Earplug Lawsuit

3m Combat Arms Earplugs lawsuit

The 3M Military Earplug lawsuit claims the earplugs that 3M sold to the military between 2003 and 2015 were ineffective because they would not hold tight within a user's ears.

Our law firm is evaluating cases and seeking compensation for individuals who have experienced serious hearing loss after using the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) during deployment or training and were discharged before January 2015.

What Do We Know About the 3M Military Earplug Lawsuits

In July 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that 3M Corp. agreed to pay $9.1 million to settle a whistleblower False Claims Act suit accusing 3M of knowingly selling defective earplugs to the U.S. military.

The settlement, filed in South Carolina federal court, was driven by allegations that 3M and its predecessor Aearo Technologies Inc. sold its Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2) to the Defense Logistics Agency knowing they were too short to be properly inserted into a user's ears.

The defective earplugs are dual-ended and can be used either as traditional earplugs or can be flipped into an "open" position to attenuate explosion sounds while still letting through quieter noises. The plugs would gradually loosen after being inserted in the ears and would fail to properly reduce loud noises.

The U.S. Department of Justice alleged that Aearo Technologies employees, including those who joined 3M after it acquired Aearo in 2008, knew about the design problems as early as 2000 when it completed testing of the earplugs.

 

Not only did 3M/Aero knowingly sell these defective earplugs to men and women in uniform, it also prevented other companies from selling more effective competing products. 3M launched patent infringement litigation in 2012 aimed at Moldex-Metric's BattlePlugs, which are now being purchased by the military. The lawsuit ended with a ruling in favor of Moldex.

 

3M’s CAEv2 earplugs were standard equipment for certain branches of the military between 2003 and 2015, and the only available option to military personnel for attenuation earplugs between 2003 and 2012.

 

In April 2019, an MDL was established for the 3M Combat Arms Earplug cases in federal court in Florida. Our law firm is serving as co-liaison counsel for the MDL. As of March 2020, more than 6,800 lawsuits were pending in the MDL.

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Military Hearing Injuries

Approximately 60% of all military personnel report hearing loss after leaving the military. As of 2014, more than 933,000 veterans were receiving disability compensation for hearing loss and 1.3 million were receiving compensation for tinnitus (ringing in the ears).

Hearing loss and tinnitus are by far the most prevalent service-connected disability among American Veterans according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Hearing loss and tinnitus can be caused by an acute (single) exposure to an intense impulse of sound (such as an explosion) or by a continuous long-term exposure (such as repeated gunfire or being stationed in engine rooms or aircraft carrier decks).

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