Many lawsuits have been filed against 3M regarding their combat earplugs after a whistleblower revealed that the earplugs, Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2) were defective. The earplugs sold to the United States military between 2003-2015 with the knowledge they were flawed.
The combat earplugs, which are no longer in production, were standard issue for the United States military between 2003-2015. As a result, current and former Navy, Army, Air Force, and Reserve military personnel could be entitled to compensation from 3M for any tinnitus or hearing loss suffered during their service to our country.
The legal staff at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers, stand behind our active-duty military and veterans. We have been following the 3M earplug lawsuits closely so we can better support the men and women of the armed forces.
How Are the 3M Earplugs Harmful?
The Minnesota based 3M Company provided the earplugs to our men and women of the United States military that they claimed were designed to be used in combat. They were designed to block out explosions or blasts but allow the soldiers to hear their orders still.
However, 3M didn’t inform the United States government that most of the earplugs were defective and may lead to the soldiers partial or complete hearing loss.
In 2018, a whistleblower came forward and warned of the defective design. The Department of Justice investigated the claim, and 3M paid $9.1 million to the United States government to clear up the fact that 3M knew about the design flaw but still sold them to the military.
The 3M combat-ready earplugs contain a design flaw which is the earplugs are symmetrical. Because of the fitting instructions provided to our military men and women, this could mean the earplugs will loosen and let the sound to enter their ears. The result is damage to their hearing.
Does This Include the Combat Arms Earplugs?
The Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2, was sold by 3M to the United States military without disclosing the known design defect. The earplugs were initially a product of Aearo Technologies, which 3M purchased in 2008.
When the United States government filed their lawsuit against 3M and Aearo Technologies, their complaint alleged that the manufacturers knew that the Combat Arms earplugs were designed too short. The design prevented the plugs from being correctly inserted into the soldier’s ears and didn’t perform well for many people.
The Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 is specially designed for our military to use, and because of the defect, 3M exposed our soldiers to dangerous levels of sound. These earplugs were used while our soldiers were fighting in:
- The Iraq War
- Afghanistan War
- War in North-West Pakistan
- War in Somalia
- Operation Ocean Shield conducted in the Indian Ocean
- American Led Invasion of Libya, Iraq, and Syria
- Yemeni Civil War (2015 to present)
- American Intervention in Libya (2015 to Present)
How Do I Know if I Qualify For the 3M Earplug Lawsuit?
To become involved in the 3M earplug lawsuit, you must have been diagnosed by your doctor with tinnitus at or around the time you received your military discharge. Additionally, your hearing loss resulted in an impairment rating from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Keep in mind that the appropriate time of service is 2003 to 2015.
Why Were the Earplugs Designed to Be Dual-Ended?
The 3M dual-ended earplugs are designed with one dark green end and one yellow end. The yellow side was designed to block out loud noises while still allowing the soldier to hear commands. The dark green side was designed to block out all sound.
So, What’s the defect in the 3M Combat Earplugs?
The main problem with the 3M combat earplugs is that instead of blocking out the sound, the design that was used allowed the earplugs to loosen in the ears of the soldiers. Also, the fins on the unworn side of the earplugs would interfere with the earplug being able to form a tight seal.
3M admitted in a False Claims Act lawsuit that the testing of the earplugs performed by 3M in 2000, revealed that the earplugs had a noise reduction rating of zero. It’s because of this that many soldiers suffered hearing loss and tinnitus.
Whey Did Our Military Use the 3M Earplugs?
There was a contract with 3M to provide the earplugs to protect our military. However, many veterans have come forward arguing that 3M:
- Misrepresented the effectiveness of the earplugs
- Didn’t disclose the known defects
- Put our men and women in the military at risk for severe loss of hearing
Is There A Class Action Lawsuit Against 3M Earplugs?
The 3M lawsuits are not a class action, and they are considered to be a mass tort. While both types of lawsuits can resolve the claims of many people, in a class action, one person can file a single suit that represents everyone.
In a mass tort, everyone files their lawsuit, even though the cases are all consolidated and heard by one judge.
Many veterans from around the United States have filed 3M earplug lawsuits. They are all consolidated and being heard by a federal judge in Florida. The judge, the Honorable Casey Rodgers, is an Army veteran.
However, just because the cases are being heard in Florida, doesn’t mean you have to travel there to file your lawsuit.
If you or a loved one served in the United States military between 2003-2015, and have suffered from tinnitus or hearing loss, the Georgia attorneys at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers may be able to assist you in recovering all the monetary damages you deserve for your injuries.