The 3M company who held the exclusive contract to manufacture military ear plugs for over a decade has admitted it knew they didn’t work properly or even at all. What does this mean for service members who counted on these defective earplugs?
The recent 3M combat arms earplugs lawsuit
In July 2018, the Department of Justice announced that it had reached a settlement with the combat arms earplugs manufacturer, 3M. In this whistleblower suit, 3M admitted that it was aware as far back as 2000 that the earplugs it manufactured did not have any noise reduction effect. As a result of this false claim, 3M agreed to pay the US government $9.1million.
However, while this lawsuit established some important facts about these defective ear plugs, it didn’t address the claims of service members who used the earplugs and suffered damages, such as hearing loss, as a result. While 3M attempted to use the government contractor immunity defense, on July 27th, 2020 Judge Rodgers found it undisputed that the company was responsible for the design of the earplugs, not the military. This was a huge victory for victims of the faulty earplugs all across the country.
Additionally, in April 2021 the first bellwether case was tried against 3M in which the company was found liable for hearing damage suffered by three U.S. military veterans who accused the company of hiding design flaws, distorting test results, and failing to instruct the military in proper use of the company’s Combat Arms Earplugs. The jury awarded each of the plaintiffs $2.1 million in punitive damages and a total of $830,500 in compensatory damages for their medical expenses, lost earnings and pain and suffering.
The bellwether trial in Florida, which consisted of three consolidated lawsuits, was meant to test the strength of the evidence and gauge damages to assist the parties in pursuing settlement of the overall litigation. For more information regarding 3M Combat Arms Earplugs claims, call for a free consultation at 800-537-8185.
For a free legal consultation with a 3M Combat Arms Earplugs lawyer serving New Orleans, call 800-537-8185
Who used the defective ear plugs?
3M had an exclusive contract to manufacture the combat arms earplugs and therefore they were standard issue for military personnel from 2003 to 2015. Current and former service members who served at any point during the years these ear plugs were used may have been injured. In particular:
- Combat veterans who served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan
- Navy and Air Force members who used the ear plugs
- Members of any military branch including the reserve who regularly fired weapons during training
New Orleans 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawyer Near Me 800-537-8185
Why are the combat arms earplugs defective?
The combat arms earplugs, also known as selective attenuation earplugs, were designed to allow two levels of noise reduction; one that would prevent the wearer from hearing any noise and another that would block the loudest sounds but still allow the wearer to communicate. The dual-ended ear plugs could be reversed depending on how they were being used.
However, according to documents uncovered during the DOJ investigation and 3M earplug lawsuit, the devices were too short to accomplish this purpose and small fins on the ear plugs could prevent a tight seal from forming in the wearer’s ear canal. Instead, they could come loose inside the ear and fail to provide any sound protection. Service members wearing the earplugs were repeatedly exposed to damaging noises and may have suffered hearing loss or tinnitus as a result.
What should I do if I suffered hearing loss after using military ear plugs?
If you or someone you love used the 3M military ear plugs and suffered hearing loss, tinnitus, or other ear injuries you may have a claim for medical bills, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. Even if you already receive disability payments and/or hearing aids from the VA, you may still be eligible to file an 3M ear plug lawsuit.
Because of the U.S. Department of Justice’s settlement with 3M, military members across the country are now seeking damages for the injuries they suffered as a result of these defective ear plugs. This means these cases are not part of a class action, but rather part of a complex multi-district litigation made up of lawsuits against 3M across the country. Due to the complexity of these cases, we strongly advise that those who may be eligible for a lawsuit against 3M should seek legal representation with the know-how and resources to properly help secure compensation.
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Morris Bart can help you
If you are unsure of whether or not you qualify, or if you’re ready to seek representation, call the Morris Bart law firm today at 1-800-537-8185. Our experienced attorneys can discuss the specifics of your service and injuries to help you understand your legal options. You can also fill out our free case evaluation form to have an attorney assist you in the evaluation process. Our initial consultations are free and all cases are contigency-based, which means you’ll never pay us a dime until and unless we win your case. We are currently representing clients all throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas from our 16 convenient office locations. Don’t hesitate to call, our phone lines are answered 24/7.
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