What are 3M Earplug Lawsuits Alleging?
Lawsuits have been filed nationwide alleging that 3M earplugs, which were issued to military personnel from 2003 to 2015, were defective and the companies that manufactured them were aware of the problem. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. veterans and current service members may have suffered hearing loss and tinnitus as a result of this negligence. Veterans and active-duty service members who served between 2003 and 2015 may be eligible to seek compensation for their injuries through the filing of a lawsuit.
What's the Problem With 3M Earplugs?
3M Combat Arms Earplugs were initially hailed as an innovative hearing protection device. Users were able to insert one end of the cone-shaped plug into the ear to block out loud, damaging noises (i.e. gunfire and explosions) while still being able to hear softer sounds like conversations and directions from commanding officers. If the user inserted the other end of the 3M earplug, it would block out all noises.
However, a whistleblower came forward in 2016 to report that 3M and its predecessor, Aearo Technologies, Inc., had sold the earplugs to the U.S. military for years while knowing that they were too short to properly fit into a user’s ear. As a result of this defect, the earplugs could slip out of a user’s ear without them realizing it, exposing them to the same loud, harmful noise that they were supposed to block out.
Related Article: 3M Earplug Lawsuit Update
Types of Injuries Caused by 3M Combat Arms Earplugs
The vast majority of lawsuits filed against 3M allege 2 main injuries caused by the defective military earplugs:
1. Hearing loss - Full, partial, or permanent hearing loss can affect a veteran’s entire life, making it hard to participate in social interactions and other aspects of normal day-to-day life.
2. Tinnitus - An auditory and neurological condition characterized by a ringing, buzzing, roaring, or hissing in the ear. The condition is typically caused by exposure to noise, either from a single impulse sound or from sound exposure over time. Tinnitus is also a common symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI).
How Much Will the Earplug Litigation Cost 3M?
3M has lost 10 of the 16 bellwether test trials that have made it to court. Juries have awarded over $250 million to plaintiffs in these trials. Analysts at Bloomberg speculate that the 3M earplug litigation could cost the company billions of dollars.
Related Articles: How to Qualify for a 3M Lawsuit?
What Compensation Can I Get by Suing 3M Over Defective Earplugs?
If you've been injured by defective earplugs, you may be wondering what kind of compensation you can recover by filing a lawsuit against 3M. While there are never any guarantees, and every case is unique, there is a way to seek monetary damages for your injuries.
The specific types and amount of damages you can recover will depend upon your particular condition and how it has affected your life. Recoverable compensation may include:
- Hearing aids and other assistive devices
- Lost wages and loss of earning capacity
- Emotional trauma
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
Learn more about the 3M earplug lawsuit compensation you can get if you choose to take legal action against 3M for defective earplugs by contacting our lawyers now.
What is the Status of the 3M Earplug Lawsuit?
On June 9, 2023, a judge dismissed the bankruptcy of 3M subsidiary Aearo Technologies, rejecting an effort to resolve nearly 260,000 3M earplug lawsuits, according to Reuters [1.].
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Jeffrey Graham ruled that Aearo enjoys a "greater degree of financial security than warrants bankruptcy protection."
The suits, which have been consolidated in the Northern District of Florida before U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers, represent the largest mass tort in U.S. history, with nearly 330,000 cases filed and about 260,000 cases currently pending.
3M and Aearo had argued that the earplug MDL has spiraled out of control and can only be resolved in bankruptcy.
See all related product liability lawsuits our attorneys have covered.