Army settlement with earplug maker may lead to more suits by veterans
Retired Army General Jay Gothard said a legal settlement, between the maker of an earplug used by the military and the United States Department of Justice, made him feel violated.
In the lawsuit, the U.S. government claimed that Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs, made by Aearo Technologies but later acquired by 3M and sold to the Army, were “dangerously defective” and contributed to significant hearing loss in service members.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, more than half (52 percent) of combat soldiers return home with moderate or severe hearing loss. It costs taxpayers an estimated $1 billion to treat the problem.
Gothard showed WRAL News two identical sets of earplugs he was issued to dull the din of explosives and guns.
“We spend a lot of our national treasure to insure that our national service members have the best equipment in the world – unfortunately, perhaps that didn’t occur with these earplugs,” he said of the Combat Arms earplugs.
The Department of Justice asserts that Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs used by the military between 2003 and 2015 were defective, and that “3M employees were aware of the defects … several years before 3M Aearo became the exclusive provider of the earplugs to the military.” The DOJ alleged that the company knew the earplugs were too short for proper insertion and did not work correctly.
In July, the government recently reached a $9.1 million settlement with 3M.
“The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the men and women serving in the United States military from defective products and fraudulent conduct,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Department’s Civil Division in announcing the settlement. “Government contractors who seek to profit at the expense of our military will face appropriate consequences.”
Raleigh attorney Ben Whitley, who represents some veterans, points out, “But none of that money goes to the veterans. That money is going back to the government and the whistle blower.”
Whitley has over 100 veteran clients for whom he is working to recover losses for the loss of their hearing. He anticipates filing civil lawsuits on their behalf.
For Gothard, it’s a case of tinnitus that results in a constant buzzing.
“It sounds like a chorus of probably 10,000 cicadas on my shoulders 24 hours a day,” he said.
3M did not admit any guilt or liability in the settlement.
A 3M spokeswoman told WRAL News:
3M has a long history of serving the U.S. military. We have sold and continue to sell thousands of products to help our troops and support their missions, with safety as a key component. 3M disagrees with many of the allegations made by the government about the legacy Combat Arms Earplug product, and we do not believe it is the cause of injury. We chose to settle the matter for a variety of reasons, including to avoid further legal fees and because we do not relish the prospect of being in litigation with such an important and valued customer as the U.S. military or the government.
It’s not quite so easy for Gothard to put his problems behind him.
“I’ll live the rest of my life with a hearing problem which was probably aggravated by using these earplugs for a number of years,” he said.
After serving more than three decades in the Army, he’s expecting to face another battle – this time in court.
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
See the full, original post here: https://www.wral.com/army-settlement-with-earplug-maker-may-lead-to-more-suits-by-veterans/18140998/
TriMark Legal Funding was founded in 2003 and is one of America's original lawsuit funding companies. TriMark provides pre settlement loans and post settlement loans to injured plaintiffs who are involved in personal injury lawsuits, employment litigation, work injury accidents and workers compensation lawsuits, mass tort litigation, and multidistrict litigation. We also provide post settlement attorney funding and law firm financing.
|Other Mass Tort Litigation Funding||Other Multidistrict Litigation Funding|
Click here to see the original article.