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.
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