3M Whistleblower Lawsuit
In 2016, Moldex-Metric Inc., a competitor of 3M's, filed a lawsuit against 3M and Aearo alleging that the companies committed fraud by knowingly selling defective Combat Arms Earplugs to the U.S. military.
The complaint further alleged that the “protracted fraud perpetrated on the military by 3M, whose dual-ended Combat Arms earplugs — which were standard issue in certain branches of the military during foreign conflicts between 2003 and 2015 — have likely caused thousands of soldiers to suffer significant hearing loss and tinnitus in addition to exposing millions to the risk caused by 3M’s defective earplugs.”
3M admitted no wrongdoing but agreed to pay $9.1 million to settle the allegations in July 2018, according to a press release [1.] issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Related Article: 3M Earplug Lawsuit Attorney
How Were the 3M Earplugs Defective?
The main problem with the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs was they did not properly fit in the soldier's ears. The earplugs would become loose without the soldiers noticing because the basal edge of the 3rd flange of the non-inserted end pressed against the soldier's ear canals.
Then it would fold right back to its original shape, which would cause the loosened seal of the earplugs to fall out without the user realizing it.
Making matters worse, the earplug's stem was too short, which exacerbated the falling-out problem. So instead of reducing sound by the advertised 25-40 decibels, the earplugs failed to reduce sound at all.
Injuries Caused by the Use of Defective 3M Earplugs
U.S. military service members who used the faulty 3M earplugs have suffered from hearing problems, including temporary and permanent hearing loss, tinnitus (constant ringing in the ears), and vertigo (loss of balance). These individuals allege that these problems have made it harder to connect with their families and enjoy things they used to love.
The defective 3M Combat Arms Earplugs were used by soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2003 and 2016. They were also used in military training exercises during the same time period. If you were a member of the U.S. military and used earplugs during service or training, you likely used the defective 3M earplugs.
Can I Participate in a Class Action Lawsuit?
No. The lawsuit against 3M is a mass tort. Although there are some similarities between a mass tort and a class action, these 2 types of lawsuits are fundamentally different. In this action against 3M, the various Plaintiffs will maintain individual claims (as opposed to a class claim with a class representative). You will be able to determine whether you want to settle your individual suit or try the case.
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Get a Free Connecticut 3M Earplug Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Attorneys
The Product Liability Litigation Group at Schmidt & Clark, LLP, is an experienced team of plaintiffs' lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in 3M Ear Plug lawsuits. We handle individual litigation nationwide and accept personal injury legal action in Connecticut and all 50 states.
Free Lawsuit Evaluation: Again, if you suffered hearing damage, ear damage, or other side effects after using 3M earplugs, you should contact our law firm immediately using the contact form below. You may be entitled to financial compensation by filing a Lawsuit and our mass tort law firm can help.