3M® Defective Earplugs
Military members who served their country between 2003 and 2015 should be aware of the 3M Earplug lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges 3M earplugs sold to the military in this timespan did not function properly. As a result, it is alleged these brave patriots suffered damage leading to hearing loss and tinnitus. If you or a loved one served in the military between ’03 and ’15, you need and deserve an in-depth case review.
3M Earplug Lawsuit Case Evaluation Paves the way Toward Compensation
The specific earplugs referenced in the 3M Combat Earplugs lawsuit are referred to as 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 or CAEv2 for short. These earplugs were provided to soldiers amidst deployment as well as training. The military stopped using these allegedly faulty earplugs at the start of 2015 due to their alleged flaws.
Though 3M’s cessation of earplug sales to the military does not automatically qualify as an admission of guilt, it fuels the fire of those seeking compensation for alleged harm. The legal team at SL Chapman LLC is here to help with an in-depth evaluation of your case. If there is solid legal footing for a combat earplug lawsuit, we will seek compensation on your behalf.
The $9 Million Settlement
In the summer of 2018, the United States Department of Justice announced that 3M agreed to pay more than $9 million in a settlement. This compensation settled the whistleblower False Claims Act lawsuit that alleged 3M knew it sold defective earplugs to the United States military. The settlement resulted from allegations that 3M, along with a company it acquired, Aearo Technologies, sold the CAEv2 earplugs while fully aware of their supposed flaws.
It was alleged these earplugs were provided to the Defense Logistics Agency, even though 3M employees were supposedly aware the plugs were manufactured shorter than intended, ultimately making it too difficult for service members to properly position them in their ears for adequate protection.
Additional Details About the 3M Earplugs
The earplugs at the center of the lawsuit are described as dual-ended as they can be used as traditional earplugs or flipped open to mitigate the impact of explosion noises while still permitting softer noises to reach the eardrums. However, it appears as though the 3M combat earplugs would not remain in place. Rather, it is alleged the earplugs loosen after insertion, ultimately failing to safeguard the eardrums against harmful noise.
The United States Department of Justice alleges employees with Aearo Technologies, including many of those who segued to 3M after the corporate giant purchased Aearo, were aware of the earplugs’ design flaw as detailed above. The Department of Justice alleged these employees had such knowledge upwards of three full years prior to the initial use of the earplugs in 2003. Aearo performed the initial testing of the earplugs, supposedly knew of the design flaws and proceeded to sell them to the United States military in exchange for hardworking Americans’ tax dollars.
Adding insult to injury is the allegation that 3M and Aero also prevented competing businesses from selling superior earplugs to the military in an effort to unload its own earplugs for profit. 3M filed a patent infringement lawsuit in 2012 against Moldex-Metric for supposedly infringing on its earplug patent with the company’s BattlePlugs earplugs.
The military is now using the BattlePlugs earplugs in combat and training. Thankfully, this lawsuit culminated with a favorable decision for Moldex. However, the CAEv2 3M earplugs were used throughout the military for a dozen years, serving as the sole option for nine of those years.
Important Information About Military Hearing Injuries
It is quite concerning that 60% of military members endure hearing loss as a result of their selfless service to the United States. Furthermore, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs reports in excess of 933,000 veterans receive disability compensation stemming from hearing loss. More than a million veterans receive compensation for the ringing in the ears known as tinnitus.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has also reported hearing loss and tinnitus are the most common disabilities related to military service. It merely takes a single explosion on the battlefield or in training combined with the use of faulty earplugs to spur hearing loss and/or tinnitus. If you are a veteran and have any hearing problems you even slightly suspect are related to your service, you owe it to yourself to pursue compensation through a 3M earplug lawsuit.
How to Proceed if You Have Been Affected by Faulty 3M Combat Earplugs
If you were provided with ineffective 3M earplugs while in the military and suffered any type of harm, you need and deserve compensation. Legal recourse is available for all service members who have suffered hearing loss as a result of these ineffective earplugs. The experienced lawyers at SL Chapman LLC are here to spearhead your pursuit of justice with a 3M earplug lawsuit. Give us a call today at (800) 851-5523 or send us an email at info@SLChapman.com for more information about the opportunity to seek financial compensation with a combat earplug lawsuit.