What's the Problem?
Thousands of U.S. military service members were provided with defective 3M Combat Arms Earplugs (Version 2) between 2002 and 2015, according to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ found that the earplugs were too short to be properly inserted into a user’s ears, giving them inadequate protection against loud noises such as gunshots and explosions on the battlefield.
3M Whistleblower Lawsuit
In May 2016, Moldex-Metric, Inc. filed a lawsuit against 3M for false statements it made to the U.S. government regarding the safety of the dual-ended Combat Arms Earplug, which 3M sold to the military from 2003 to 2015. The government claimed that 3M knowingly sold the government earplugs that 3M knew were defective.
The lawsuit further alleged that 3M was aware that the Combat Arms Earplugs did not work properly as early as 2000. Additionally, Moldex argued that 3M knowingly sold the earplugs to the military without disclosing that the design of the earplugs was defective, the pre-marketing tests on the earplugs were flawed, and that the noise reduction rating that 3M advertised was not accurate.
In July 2018, a settlement agreement was reached between the U.S. Government, 3M, and Moldex to resolve allegations that 3M knowingly sold its Combat Arms Earplugs to the military without warning about product flaws that reduced the effectiveness of the hearing protection device.
“Before delivering the CAEv2 to the United States, the United States alleges that 3M, and its predecessor Aearo, knew that the CAEv2 was too short for proper insertion in users’ ears and, therefore, did not perform as well in certain individuals," the settlement agreement read. "Additionally, the United States alleges that 3M did not disclose this information to the United States and delivered the CAEv2 to the United States knowing that the product contained defects that impaired the CAEv2’s serviceability.”
Related Article: Whistleblower Lawsuit Update
Hearing Loss Resulting From 3M Military Earplugs
Continuous exposure to loud noises (i.e. gunfire, explosions, aircraft, heavy machinery) may contribute to hearing loss. Fully aware of the noise that soldiers are exposed to, the U.S. military made an effort to minimize the risks of hearing loss by issuing hearing protection devices like the 3M Combat Arms version 2 Earplugs to its personnel.
Unfortunately, the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs were defective, resulting in thousands of soldiers suffering from temporary and even permanent hearing loss, tinnitus, loss of balance, and other complications. Many veterans are now filing legal claims against 3M for knowingly selling defective earplugs to the military without warning of the defects.
What is the Average Payout for 3M Ear Plug Hearing Loss?
The compensation veterans and current U.S. military service members may be able to recover after having their hearing damaged by the use of the defective 3M earplugs depending on the severity of their diagnosis.
For example, veterans who suffered permanent hearing loss will receive the maximum compensation available from 3M, as their injury is extremely severe. On the other hand, veterans who suffer from tinnitus or partial hearing loss will receive a smaller award. The compensation typically ranges between $50,000 and $400,000.
Related Article: Average Payout in Military Earplug Claims for Veterans
Do I Qualify to File an Earplug Lawsuit Against 3M?
Thousands of U.S. military veterans and current service members may be eligible to receive financial compensation for hearing loss and tinnitus caused by defective 3M Combat Arms Earplugs. Our lawyers are filing 3M earplug lawsuits in Colorado and all 50 states. If you think you may have a claim, contact us immediately to learn more about your legal rights.
Related Article: How Long Will the Settlement Take?
3M Earplug Lawsuit Status Update
U.S. military veterans and current service members have filed so many lawsuits against 3M that these claims now account for over 30% of all cases currently on the docket in federal court. Most of the cases have been consolidated in multidistrict litigation (MDL) in Florida, which is the biggest in history, with at least 262,048 actions pending as of December 2022. To date, 16 bellwether trials have resulted in 10 losses for 3M, with 13 plaintiffs being awarded nearly $300 million in damages.
See all related product liability lawsuits our lawyers have taken on.