What’s the problem?
January 15, 2019 – 3M sold its Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) to the Defense Logistics Agency without warning about defects that decreased the products’ actual effectiveness, according to allegations brought through the False Claims Act.
Manufactured by Aearo Technologies, 3M Combat Arms Earplugs were standard issue to U.S. military personnel deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan from 2003 to 2015, according to Stripes. The earplugs, which were designed to offer 2 levels of hearing protection depending on the user’s needs, were manufactured too short at the stem, which didn’t allow the plugs to go deep enough into the ear, according to the suit. The complaint further alleged that 3M earplugs allowed ”damaging sounds to enter the ear canal.”
In July 2018, 3M agreed to pay a settlement of $9.1 million to the U.S. government for selling the defective earplugs to the military.
“Government contractors who seek to profit at the expense of our military will face appropriate consequences,” said Chad Readler, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Division.
Although the lawsuit has been resolved, all claims within the settlement will end as allegations only, as 3M has admitted no liability in the case.
Ohio Army Vet Sues 3M For Defective Earplugs
October 18, 2019 – A retired U.S. Army sergeant from Toledo, Ohio, has filed a products liability lawsuit against the 3M Company for providing the military with allegedly defective earplugs for at least 12 years, according to NBC 24. Since using the product, Plaintiff Tim LeDoux has suffered from tinnitus for more than a decade, according to the suit.
“It’s a light ringing,” LeDoux said. “As we’re talking right now, my ears ring. It’ll never go away. I’ll never know what it’s like to have true peace or silence.”
Ex-Marine Sues 3M for Selling Defective Earplugs to Military
October 11, 2019 – Plaintiff Kevin Doyle was issued 3M Combat Arms Earplugs while he was deployed overseas in the Army, according to NationofChange. In 2014, Doyle was diagnosed with bilateral tinnitus and hearing loss in his right ear. Prior to his joining the military, Doyle had no history of ear problems or hearing loss.
“Based on the supposed technological design and qualities of the Combat Arms Earplugs, (Defendants won) a series of Indefinite-Quantity Contracts (ICQs) to be the exclusive supplier of selective attenuation earplugs to the U.S. military between 2003 and 2012,” the complaint states. “To win these ICQs Defendants represented that the Combat Arms Earplugs would meet specific performance criteria established by the U.S. Government as a prerequisite for bidding on the IQC for earplugs.”
The lawsuit alleges that 3M and Aearo knew the earplugs were defective and falsified test results in order to acquire the contract with the U.S. military.
Plaintiff Seeks Consolidation of Federal 3M Earplug Lawsuits
March 5, 2019 – After a group of plaintiffs reached a $9.1 million settlement with the 3M Company to resolve allegations that it knowingly sold defective earplugs to the U.S. military, one of those plaintiffs has filed a motion seeking consolidation of all such claims into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) for pretrial handling before one judge. In the motion, which was filed Jan. 25, Plaintiff requests the District of Minnesota as the venue for the proposed MDL because 3M is headquartered there, and thus the relevant documents and witnesses are located nearby.
In the motion, which was filed Jan. 25, Plaintiff requests the District of Minnesota as the venue for the proposed MDL because 3M is headquartered there, and thus the relevant documents and witnesses are located nearby. Consolidation is intended to streamline the litigation process, and to “promote the just and efficient conduct of the actions,” according to the motion.
The plaintiff who filed the motion requesting the MDL filed his personal suit on Jan. 24, alleging that:
- 3M and Aearo Technologies (which 3M purchased in 2008) manufactured and sold defective dual-ended Combat Arms earplugs;
- Defendants knew about these defects prior to selling the earplugs to the military;
- Defendants falsified test results to meet military standards and qualify for the lucrative government contract.
Moldex-Metric Inc., a firm that manufactures earplugs that compete with 3M Combat Arms Earplugs, filed a whistleblower lawsuit on behalf of the U.S. Government in May 2016, alleging that 3M made false statements regarding its dual-ended version 2 earplugs. The company noted in the suit that the earplugs had likely caused thousands of soldiers to suffer major hearing loss and/or tinnitus, and that the indirect cost to the public has been huge.
At the time the motion to consolidate was filed, at least 8 other 3M earplug lawsuits were pending in 4 districts. The complaints were filed on behalf of military personnel who allegedly suffered hearing loss and/or tinnitus as a result of wearing the earplugs.
Can I File a Class Action?
Although Schmidt & Clark, LLP, is a nationally recognized class action firm, we have decided against this type of litigation when it comes to 3M Combat Earplugs. Our lawyers feel that if there is a successful resolution to these cases, individual suits, not class actions will be the best way to get maximum payouts to our clients. If you’ve been injured by 3M ear plugs, we know you’ve suffered emotionally and economically, and want to work with you personally to obtain the maximum compensation for the damages caused by your injuries. Contact us today to learn more about your legal rights.
Do I Have a 3M Earplug Lawsuit?
The Product Liability Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in 3M Combat Ear Plug lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new ear injury cases in all 50 states.
Free Case Evaluation: Again, if you hearing loss, ear damage or other side effects after using 3M earplugs, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.