Why are People Filing 3M Earplug Lawsuits?
From 2003 to 2015, 3M provided Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2) for U.S. Military personnel to use in combat. The earplugs were designed to protect the user's hearing from loud noises on bases and on the battlefield, while simultaneously allowing the user to hear conversations and orders from their commanders.
However, lawsuits allege that the earplugs caused hearing loss, tinnitus, loss of balance, and other serious injuries. Plaintiffs claim that the earplugs came loose inside the ear, allowing noise to travel around the earplug and that the earplugs do not fit properly inside the ear.
3M Earplug Whistleblower Lawsuit
In 2018, a whistleblower came forward to expose the design flaw in 3M Combat Arms Earplugs. Following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, 3M agreed to pay a $9.1 million settlement to the Federal Government.
The settlement was part of an agreement resolving allegations that 3M knew about the design defect and failed to warn the government. However, 3M refused to admit it was responsible for causing the hearing loss to veterans as part of the agreement.
Related Article: 3M Earplug Lawsuit Update
How Many People Were Affected by Defective 3M Earplugs?
It is not known how many 3M Earplugs the U.S. military purchased or how many of them were issued to service members. As of August 2021, when the United States pulled the last of its military personnel out of Afghanistan, over 775,000 service members had been deployed there.
Since 2001, between 2 and 3 million service members have served in post-9/11 war operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. This does not count the number of personnel assigned to bases elsewhere who worked in proximity to damaging noises and who may have been issued Combat Arms earplugs.
Related Article: How Much Money Are Veterans Getting for the 3M Lawsuit?
3M Earplug Multidistrict Litigation
To date, more than 250,000 lawsuits have been filed against 3M over its defective Combat Arms Earplugs. Those lawsuits have been consolidated in multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of Florida before U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers, becoming the largest mass tort in American history. The MDL is 3M Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2885, Master Docket No. 3:19md2885.
Have Any 3M Lawsuits Gone to Trial?
Between March and June 2021, Judge Rodgers held 3 bellwether trials, which are used to help anticipate the results of similar lawsuits. In the first trial, the jury awarded 3 plaintiffs a cumulative $7 million. The 2nd bellwether ended in favor of 3M, finding that the Combat Arms Earplugs did not cause a veteran’s tinnitus.
A 3rd trial resulted in a jury award of $1.7 million against 3M, and in the 4th and final bellwether trial, the jury awarded $77.5 million in damages, including $72.5 million in punitive damages, to a former soldier who alleged that his hearing loss was caused by defective 3M earplugs.
Is it Too Late for Me to File a Lawsuit?
Product liability attorneys across the U.S. continue to investigate and file 3M Earplug Lawsuits. However, whether a potential plaintiff is eligible to file a claim depends on several factors that can affect the statute of limitations or SOL.
Read Also: How to Qualify for a 3M Lawsuit?
In multidistrict litigation, all cases filed in the U.S. are transferred under the umbrella of a single court and judge, which allows for a more streamlined administration of justice. Even though the lawsuits have been consolidated before Judge Rodgers in the Northern District of Florida, the SOL that applies to each case is the statute of the state where the plaintiff’s original case was filed.
Those time limits vary, with most statutes running 2 to 3 years from the discovery of the injury to the filing of the claim. Determining how a state’s limitations period applies to an individual case requires a careful analysis of facts, including when the plaintiff used the earplugs, when symptoms of hearing loss or tinnitus appeared, and when measurable damage attributable to the earplugs was discovered or diagnosed.
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Get a Free 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 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.