In July of 2018, the Justice Department settled the 3M earplug lawsuit where the company agreed to pay out $9.1 million to the government in order to settle the complaints brought against it.
What Was the 3M Earplugs Lawsuit About?
The Justice Department claimed that the Minnesota based company 3M defrauded the government when it sold faulty military earplugs. The claim stated that between the years of 2003 and 2015, 3M knowingly put military personnel in harm’s way when they sold the government defective 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2). This led to a large number of service men and women being put at risk of hearing loss or suffering other related problems such as tinnitus due to these defective earplugs.
What Was Wrong with the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2)?
Between 2003 and 2015, 3M was contracted to manufacture and supply the U.S Military with combat earplugs to protect the service men and women’s ears. The 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) was designed to provide these service people with unique double-sided protection during training drills and actual combat scenarios.
Because hearing loss due to loud noises associated with training and combat has been a rising concern in the military, these earplugs were intended to be a remedy against that issue.
Ideally, the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) was designed to do the following:
- One side of the earplugs would block out all sound from entering each of the user’s ears
- The other side would, while still offering adequate protection to the user’s ears by blocking out loud noises from gunfire, explosions and such, allow the user to hear soft noises such as commands and other communication from fellow service men and women
The earplugs, however, had one inherent defect that ensured they wouldn’t adequately perform these duties: their design was too short. Because of that design flaw, they didn’t stay in the soldiers’ ears properly and imperceptibly came loose when in use. This meant that the soldiers’ ears weren’t as protected as they thought they were, and they were actually still open to potentially damaging sounds that these soldiers are exposed to in their line of duty.
The Combat Earplugs Lawsuit
3M troubles began in 2016 when a whistleblower lawsuit was brought against them through the False Claims Act. This lawsuit highlighted the fact that the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) were defective and failed to provide the level of care and hearing protection that 3M claimed they did.
It went on to state that 3M knew about this defect from as early as the year 2000 but failed to declare that information to the government even as they sold the earplugs to the military.
Even though 3M did not accept any liability for the defective earplugs that they manufactured and sold, they agreed to settle the case with a $9.1 million payout with the whistleblower receiving $1.9 million.
Unfortunately, none of this money actually went to the service men and women who were injured or suffered hearing loss and other forms of impairment by using these earplugs. That is why, today, there are many service men and women coming forward seeking restitution for their suffering from the company.
Who Is Eligible for Financial Restitution from the 3M Earplugs Lawsuit?
If you or a loved one served in the military and may be suffering hearing loss or associated disorders, then you might be eligible for financial recovery based on the 3M earplug lawsuit. This is especially true if you or a loved one meets the following criteria:
- Was serving in the United States military during or between 2003 and 2015
- During that time, you used 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) at any given time
- You now suffer full or partial hearing loss. This might include tinnitus, permanent hearing damage or deafness
The symptoms associated with tinnitus vary and may include ringing in your ear, a roaring sound, buzzing, or whistling sounds in your ears. These are sounds that are not emanating from any external source and can only be heard by you. They may occur intermittently or may be continuous.
While it is true that hearing loss or issues related to ear damage due to loud sounds and noises associated with combat can personally, professionally and socially make a soldier’s life difficult and uncomfortable, the settlement paid out by 3M didn’t go towards helping these soldiers cope.
Because the case was brought the False Claims Act, the proceeds went directly to the U.S military. As such, to get just restitution, individual soldiers need to level their own lawsuits against the company.
Can You Sue 3M for Your Hearing Loss?
Different law firms are considering taking on this manufacturing giant. Each law firm is accepting different criteria of the case, and some are stricter than others. Filling out a 3M ear plug lawsuit claim form will give you a good idea of whether or not you have a good case.
If you believe you may be a claimant in the 3M earplug lawsuit, you can
Our top lawyer pick for representing injured military veterans in this lawsuit is Attorney Andrew J. Cobos. Here’s why:
- He is the only OIF combat veteran lawyer selected to the national steering / leadership committee for this lawsuit – only a small team of top lawyers are selected by a DC-appointed judge for this role.
- Being a combat veteran and victim in this lawsuit, he genuinely cares about his clients and understands them – which is highly valuable in any type of lawsuit.
- He has a strong performance record in fighting aggressively for his clients in personal injury cases.
- He’s made it easy for veterans to find out whether or not they’re eligible for the lawsuit all online at militaryearplug.com.
As an individual who served in the military between 2003 and 2015 and used 3M combat earplugs, there is a good chance that you might be eligible for compensation. If you have since been diagnosed with total or partial hearing loss or tinnitus, it will do you some good to speak to a qualified lawyer to see what standing your case has in the eyes of the law.