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Arkansas 3M Earplug Lawyer

Recent lawsuits allege that 3M sold defective Combat Arms Earplugs to the United States Military from 2003 to 2015. As a result of these defective earplugs, veterans and current service members who used them may have suffered temporary or permanent hearing loss, vertigo, and tinnitus (constant ringing in the ears).
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

What's the Problem?

The problem was exposed when a whistleblower notified the U.S. Federal Government that Aearo Technologies (3M's parent company) was aware of a design defect in the Dual-Ended CAEv2 Combat Arms Earplugs that it sold to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).

After a lawsuit was filed by a third party representing the Federal Government, 3M was forced to admit that Aearo’s pre-marketing tests indicated that the earplugs failed to provide adequate noise reduction benefits.

How are 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Defective?

When Aearo Technologies initially pitched their Dual-Sided Combat Arms earplugs to the government, they claimed that the yellow side of the earplug featured the government-mandated 0-decibel rating. With this rating, Aearo asserted that soldiers would be able to hear spoken commands on the battlefield, while also blocking out intermittent loud sounds, such as gunshots and explosions.

Unfortunately, the yellow ends were shown to fail in this capacity. According to the whistleblower lawsuit against 3M, Aero's testing of the yellow end revealed a rating of -2, which indicates amplification of sound, acting as more of a hearing aid rather than for noise reduction.

Hearing Loss and Tinnitus

Hearing problems are the No. 1 service-related disability among American veterans, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). As of 2020, nearly 1.5 million veterans were receiving disability compensation for hearing loss, and over 2.3 million veterans were receiving compensation for tinnitus. The VA is currently the largest employer of audiologists in America.

A 2019 study of 85,000 active U.S. military servicemen and women found that tinnitus rates have increased substantially in recent years. The researchers found that in 2001, approximately 1.8 of every 1,000 active service members experienced tinnitus, and by 2015, that number had grown to 6.8 out of every 1,000.

How Do I Prove I Used 3M Combat Arms Earplugs?

The easiest way to prove that you used defective 3M CAEv2 earplugs is if you kept evidence, such as photos of you using the earplugs, having the earplugs in your possession, or written statements from other veterans that you served with.

Although these forms of evidence are helpful, they may not necessarily be required to prove that you used 3M Combat Arms Earplugs. Thousands of earplugs were used throughout multiple branches of the U.S. military between 2003 and 2015.

Related Article: How Do I Qualify for 3M Earplug Lawsuit?

Is There a Class Action Lawsuit Against 3M?

The 3M earplug litigation initially began as individual lawsuits. Although allegedly caused by a single product from a single company, many of the plaintiffs claimed different injuries.

When the federal court system became aware of the huge number of 3M earplug lawsuits being filed, it ordered a multidistrict litigation, or MDL, to consolidate the cases before a single judge who will oversee the pretrial phase of the litigation.

The advantage of an MDL settlement over a class action settlement is that each MDL plaintiff will receive a portion of the settlement proceeds based on their specific circumstances and injuries.

Is There Still Time to File a 3M Earplugs Lawsuit?

You may still have time to file a lawsuit against 3M for injuries caused by the company's Combat Arms Earplugs. The statute of limitations, or SOL, for bringing claims against 3M varies from state to state. If you live in Arkansas, it is best to consult a local attorney about the applicable SOL for your particular state.

In certain situations, the SOL may be extended or may not apply at all if either of the following legal doctrines applies:

  • Discovery rule - In federal cases, the discovery rule will delay the SOL until an individual realizes that they have been injured. Plaintiffs may argue that they were not previously aware that the 3M earplugs were defective and could be the cause of their hearing problems.
  • Equitable estoppel - This doctrine keeps a defendant from using the SOL to bar a plaintiff’s claim when the defendant has wrongfully contributed to the inability to file a timely lawsuit. Plaintiffs could argue that 3M actively concealed the known defects in the CAEv2 earplugs in an attempt to keep people from filing lawsuits.

How Much Will it Cost Me to Hire a 3M Earplug Lawyer?

The good news is that our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you don’t pay anything unless your lawsuit against 3M is successful. If successful, the advocate fee is a minority percentage of the amount of money that you receive.

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