3M’s Potential Liability
Thousands of veterans and current military service members may be entitled to receive financial compensation in the 3M earplug lawsuit for hearing loss and tinnitus caused by defective earplugs. The Combat Arms Earplugs were manufactured and sold by 3M to all four branches of the U.S. military.
The chemical and materials conglomerate 3M purchased a company called Aearo in 2008 that manufactured a dual-mode earplug called Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2). This particular model earplug was sold in huge numbers to the U.S. military and was in regular use from 2003 until 2015.
Since then, thousands of service members have come forward stating they suffered hearing damage while using these earplugs. 3M did not instruct service members on proper use of the earplugs, and plaintiffs believe that 3M knew the earplugs would be ineffective if not used correctly.
The earplugs were dual-mode, with one mode blocking all noise and one mode allowing speech and orders to be heard while blocking harmful levels of noise. Users of the earplugs claim they did not work as intended and that they suffered hearing loss as a result.
In 2018, 3M agreed to pay the US government a $9.1 million settlement to resolve a lawsuit brought by a whistleblower stating that 3M knew the earplugs were ineffective when they sold them to the military. Since this time, a federal multi-district litigation in Pensacola, FL has been established to handle the multitude of claims throughout the country. Since April 2021 service members that sued 3M in federal court in Pensacola have won 3 verdicts against 3M and the average verdict is over $2 million.
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