3M Military Combat Arms Earplug Lawsuit
In July 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice announced 3M 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 based upon 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 gradually loosen and failed to properly reduce loud noises.
The U.S. Department of Justice alleged that 3M/Aearo knew about the design problems as early as 2000 when it completed testing of the earplugs.
3M prevented other companies from selling more effective competing products. 3M sued their competitors Moldx-Metrix Battle Plugs for patent infringement and lost. Moldx-Metrix Battle Plugs are now being purchased by the military.
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.
Military Hearing Injuries
Approximately 60% of all military personnel report hearing loss after leaving the military. Among post- 9/11 veterans, 414,000 have come home with hearing loss and tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. 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).
More 3M earplug lawsuit information you may be interested in:
- 2 vets to get $110M in 3M earplugs suit
- $22.5 Million Verdict in 3M Combat Earplug Trial
- 3M loses latest in series of military earplug cases
- Bellwether Military Earplug Verdicts Underscores Importance of Establishing Government-Contractor Defense
- 3M earplug cases sent to state court as federal bellwether dropped
- 3M Wins Lawsuit Over Military-Issued Earplugs
- Pensacola jury awards $7.1 million in bellwether case over defective 3M military earplugs
- 3M hit with $6MM punitive damages by U.S. jury in first combat earplug trial
- 3M Forces VA Doctor to Testify About Hearing Exam
- 3M Combat Arms MDL Passes Asbestos as Largest Ever
- Lawsuits against 3M moved to federal court
- 3M Earplug, Roundup, and Hernia Mesh Lawsuits Spike in 2019
- Lawsuit says 3M combat arms earplugs don’t work, cause hearing loss for soldiers
- How defective combat earplugs can cause long-term problems
- Parker Waichman initiates over 500 3M earplug lawsuits
- 3M Combat Earplugs Lawsuit | File Before Trials Start April 2021
- 3M Military Combat Arms Earplug Lawsuit
- 53 Lawyers Appointed to Lead 3M Earplug Lawsuits
- MDL Panel Sends Military Service Member’s Lawsuits Faulting 3M Earplugs to Northern District of Florida
- The Pentagon Has Settled A Lawsuit Over Allegedly Defective 3M Earplugs. Now Veterans Are Suing, Too.
- 3M settlement shows how little we care if veterans come home whole
- 3M Conducts Faulty Testing to Obtain Exclusive Military Contract on Earplugs
- Army settlement with earplug maker may lead to more suits by veterans
- Vets with Hearing Loss May Have Defective 3M Earplugs to Blame
- Tinnitus Anyone? 3M Covered Up Its Defective Military Earplugs Since 2000
- Contractor Settles for $9.1M after Providing Defective Earplugs for Troops
- 3M will pay $9M over defective military earplugs
- 3M settles defective combat earplug case for $9.1 million
- Company to pay $9 million after allegedly selling defective combat earplugs to US military
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