Military members who were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan between 2003 and 2015 were issued 3M’s Combat Arms Earplugs, version 2 (CAEv2). The earplug’s dual-ended design was supposed to provide two levels of hearing protection. When one end was inserted into the ear all noise was blocked; when the other end was inserted, combat sounds, such as explosions and gunfire, were blocked while low-level sounds, such as voices, could be heard.
The earplugs, however, could not be properly inserted into the ears. The stems were too short, and the earplugs could loosen, exposing soldiers to high-level sounds. Constant exposure to these dangerous noises may have damaged the soldiers’ ears, which caused hearing loss and tinnitus to develop.
3M Pays $9.1 Million to Settle Defective Earplugs Allegations
In 2016, a whistleblower lawsuit was filed against 3M and its predecessor, Aearo Technologies Inc., alleging that both companies knew the earplugs were defective yet sold them to the Defense Logistics Agency anyway. The lawsuit was filed under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, which allows a private party to sue on the government’s behalf when deception was used to secure government funds.
In 2018, 3M paid $9.1 million to resolve the allegations that it knowingly sold defective earplugs to the government. The settlement reimbursed the government for purchasing the product; however, 3M did not admit liability for the defect.
Recently, thousands of veterans and active military members have filed individual lawsuits against 3M, claiming the defective earplugs resulted in them developing hearing loss and tinnitus.
We Provide the Legal Representation You Deserve
If you are an active military member or veteran who was issued 3M’s earplugs, you may be able to recover compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages. At SJ Injury Attorneys, we are committed to helping injured individuals obtain the compensation they deserve for their losses. Our experienced Pasadena product liability attorneys have a track record of success with personal injury claims and are ready to provide strong legal representation for your case.
Call us at (713) 581-9042 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.