Month: July 2018

3M will pay $9M over defective military earplugs

3M Co. has agreed to pay $9.1 million to settle a claim it sold defective earplugs to the U.S. military. 

Military Times reports on the settlement, announced late last week by the U.S. Department of Justice. Maplewood-based 3M (NYSE: MMM) admitted no wrongdoing in the deal.

The government had accused 3M and Aearo Technologies Inc. of knowingly providing the military with earplugs that were too short, causing them to gradually loosen in the some users’ ears until they didn’t provide protection. 3M bought Aearo in 2007.

The Star Tribune also has a report, noting that lawsuit dates to a 2016 filing by a whistleblower recently identified as Moldex-Metric Inc., an earplug maker that has sparred in court with 3M previously. Moldex will get a portion of the settlement.

Contractor Settles for $9.1M after Providing Defective Earplugs for Troops

A contractor has agreed to pay $9.1 million to the U.S. government for selling defective earplugs issued to thousands of servicemembers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan from 2003 to 2015.

Known as “selective attenuation earplugs,” 3M’s Combat Arms earplugs would “loosen in the wearers ear, imperceptibly to the wearer and even trained audiologists visually observing a wearer, thereby permitting damaging sounds to enter the ear canal by traveling around outside of the earplug,” according to the whistleblower lawsuit complaint, which was settled Thursday.

The earplugs were designed to be worn in two ways. The wearer could insert the plugs one way if they needed to hear speech and another way if they needed greater noise protection. The plugs looked like two inverted cones connected at each bottom by a stem.

3M settles defective combat earplug case for $9.1 million

Without admitting liability, 3M Co. has agreed to pay $9.1 million to settle allegations that it supplied the U.S. military with defective earplugs, Department of Justice officials announced late Thursday.

The settlement, which involves the second version of 3M’s “dual-ended combat arms earplugs” (CAEv2), resolves a whistleblower’s allegations that 3M violated the federal False Claims Act by selling defective earplugs to the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency, Justice officials said in a statement.

“Specifically, the United States alleged that 3M, and its predecessor, Aearo Technologies Inc., knew the CAEv2 was too short for proper insertion into users’ ears and that the earplugs could loosen imperceptibly and therefore did not perform well for certain individuals. The United States further alleged that 3M did not disclose this design defect to the military,” the statement said.

The allegations were initially brought up in a 2016 lawsuit filed by a whistleblower, one recently identified (via unsealed court records) as the earplug maker Moldex-Metric Inc.

Company to pay $9 million after allegedly selling defective combat earplugs to US military

A contracting company agreed to pay $9.1 million to resolve allegations that it knowingly sold the U.S. military defective earplugs.

The Minnesota-based 3M Company allegedly sold its dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2, to the Defense Logistics Agency without disclosing defects that decreased the actual effectiveness of the hearing protection the device offered.

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