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3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuits
In May 2016, the United States government filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the 3M Company. The lawsuit alleged that 3M sold defective earplugs to the U.S. Armed Forces. The government also alleged that 3M was aware of the earplug defects. Those earplugs were known as 3M Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2.
3M Earplug Design
3M Combat Arms Earplugs are dual-ended and originally designed by Aearo Technologies. Each end of the 3M earplugs were designed to provide different attenuation levels. One end was intended to provide non-linear attenuation. The other end was intended to provide selective hearing attenuation.
Closed or Blocked Position (Olive End)
The earplugs were supposed to function as normal earplugs.
Open or Unblocked Position (Yellow End)
Loud impulse sounds, such as battlefield explosions or gunfire, should have been blocked, while allowing the soldier to hear quieter sounds, such as commands from fellow service members.
3M Earplug Alleged Design Defects
According to the lawsuit, 3M Combat Arms Earplugs were too short. This defect would not allow for proper insertion into the users’ ear. This could cause the earplugs to loosen. In certain individuals, the loosening caused diminished effectiveness of the 3M earplugs.
According to the lawsuit, Aearo was aware of the defects as early as February 2000. Despite the defects, Aearo submitted the earplugs, in response to a military Request for Proposal (RFP) in 2003. The RFP was initiated to find a supplier to provide large quantities of earplugs to the military.
3M Earplugs Lawsuit Settlement
In 2003, Aearo Technologies became the exclusive supplier of the requested earplugs. During this process, Aearo certified that the 3M earplugs met specific medical criteria. That criteria was defined under Solicitation No SP0200-06-R-4202.
Once Aearo provided the express certification, it constituted a false statement. Because of the false statement, later payments to Aearo and 3M were considered false claims. 3M acquired Aearo in 2008 and became liable for the false claims.
In July 2018, 3M agreed to pay $9.1 million to resolve the lawsuit with the U.S. Government. Because this was a Whistleblower Lawsuit, under the False Claims Act, all funds went to the government. The settlement funds will not compensate injured military service members.
Can I File a 3M Earplug Lawsuit?
It may be possible for veterans to file a defective earplug lawsuit. Compensation from a Combat Arms Earplugs earplug lawsuit may cover:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Other damages
To be eligible to file an individual lawsuit, you must meet the following criteria:
- You served in the U.S. military between 2003 and 2015.
- During this time, you used 3M Combat Arms Earplugs.
- You are suffering from permanent hearing loss or tinnitus.
Do you receive disability or other service-related benefits from the military? You may still be eligible.
File a 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuit
Lutz, Bobo & Telfair, P.A. is a veteran owned law firm, with multiple veterans on staff. We are Martindale-Hubbell AV rated, for our legal ability and ethical standards. Our law firm also has over 300 years of combined legal experience.
We offer free case reviews for 3M earplug claims. The time to file a 3M earplug lawsuit is limited. Have 3M Combat Arms Earplugs caused you hearing loss or tinnitus? Schedule your free consultation or call us today at 941-951-1800.