3M Conducts Faulty Testing to Obtain Exclusive Military Contract on Earplugs
According to a recently settled whistleblower lawsuit, 3M Company and its predecessor Aearo Technologies, Inc. —which supplied the U.S. military with Combat Arms Earplugs version 2 (CAEv2) between 2003 and 2015—made false statements about the effectiveness of those earplugs, unnecessarily putting millions of veterans in danger of developing hearing loss and tinnitus.
Moldex-Metric, a competitor company that also manufacturers earplugs, filed the lawsuit under the False Claims Act. The U.S. Department of Justice later joined in the suit, and the plaintiffs secured a $9.1 million settlement agreement.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs’ alleged that 3M and Aearo (3M acquired Aearo in 2008) were aware of problems with the CAEv2 for years, yet continued to supply them to the military without disclosing the CAEv2’s defects.