The 3M company has held the exclusive contract to manufacture military earplugs for over a decade. The company has admitted to knowing the earplugs didn’t work properly or even at all. What does this mean for service members who counted on these defective earplugs?
If you suffered hearing loss or other adverse side effects after using these defective earplugs, Morris Bart, LLC wants to help. Our 3M Combat Arms earplugs lawyers in New Orleans can help you pursue compensation for your losses. Learn what your options are after a defective product caused you harm.
The 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 they manufactured did not have any noise reduction effect.
As a result of this false claim, 3M agreed to pay the U.S. government $9.1 million. This lawsuit established important facts about these defective earplugs but didn’t address the claims of service members who used the earplugs and suffered damages like hearing loss.
While 3M attempted to use the government contractor immunity defense, on July 27th, 2020 Judge Rodgers found 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.
Success in Bellwether Trials
In April 2021, the first bellwether case was tried against 3M. The company was found liable for hearing damage suffered by three U.S. military veterans. The three accused the company of hiding design flaws, distorting test results, and failing to instruct the military in the proper use of the company’s Combat Arms earplugs.
The jury awarded each plaintiff $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.
More Trials to Come
Judge Rodgers scheduled additional bellwether trials to start in September 2021 and October 2021. A consolidated trial of three plaintiffs may also begin in January 2022. Rogers hopes that moving these trials to an active docket will expedite current litigation.
Although Judge Rodgers oversaw the previous cases, he implored other judges in the northern district of Florida to preside over the bellwether trials planned in October and December. There is a backlog of over 250,000 cases awaiting trial.
Texas Two-Step Bankruptcy Ruling
On February 6th, 2023, a federal appeals court unanimously voted to dismiss the Johnson & Johnson company’s attempt to use a controversial “Texas two-step” bankruptcy strategy in their ongoing lawsuits related to their talcum powder products being linked to cancer. This strategy is employed to resolve claim liability by the creation of a new subsidiary, to which all existing lawsuits would be funneled. Once this is done, the new entity will declare bankruptcy and thereby eliminate the financial liability of those lawsuits. This was a massive positive outcome for cancer victims who were heavy users of these talcum powder products.
While seemingly unrelated, this is quite a significant positive outcome for 3M Combat Arms Earplug plaintiffs as 3M has also been seeking to employ similar bad faith tactics in an effort to reduce their own financial liability. However, with the precedent being set by the recent decision as well as the similarity in cases, many experts find it likely there will be a similar result in the case of 3Ms litigation.
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 who used these earplugs may have been injured. In particular:
- Combat veterans who served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan
- Navy and Air Force members who used the earplugs
- Members of any military branch including the reserve who regularly fired weapons during training
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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 earplugs could be reversed depending on how they were being used.
However, according to documents uncovered during the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation and 3M earplug lawsuit, the devices were too short to accomplish this purpose and small fins on the earplugs 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.
Long-Term Damage Caused By Defective 3M Earplugs
Because these 3M Combat Arms earplugs did not offer the hearing protection they promised, service members suffered severe medical complications. You may be able to file a lawsuit for damages if you used this product and experienced:
- Partial or total hearing loss
- Ringing or buzzing in your ears
- Unusual pitch perception
- Meniere’s disease
Unfortunately, these conditions may affect you permanently. Don’t suffer the consequences of another party’s negligence. Our New Orleans 3M Combat Arms earplugs lawyers are ready to help you seek justice for your injuries.
What to Do After Suffering Hearing Loss from Using 3M Earplugs
If you or someone you love used the 3M military earplugs and suffered hearing loss, tinnitus, or other ear injuries, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. Even if you already receive disability payments and/or hearing aids from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, you may still be eligible to file a 3M earplug lawsuit. You may be able to claim compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Because of the DOJ’s settlement with 3M, military members across the country are now seeking damages for the injuries they suffered as a result of these defective earplugs. This means these cases are not part of a class action, but rather part of complex multidistrict litigation made up of lawsuits against 3M across the country.
Due to the complexity of these cases, we strongly advise that you seek legal assistance from a 3M Combat Arms earplugs attorney in New Orleans with the know-how and resources to properly help secure compensation.
What Is the Average 3M Earplug Lawsuit Payout?
Even though one of the 3M earplug lawsuits settled for $9.1 million, this is far from average. Individual plaintiffs with successful lawsuits may expect payouts between $5,000 and $250,000. Keep in mind that everyone’s case will have different results. Our attorneys can review your case to give you a personalized estimate of what your case may be worth.
Can You Afford to Hire a 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawyer?
Our team at Morris Bart, LLC understands that your injury may affect your ability to work and earn income. It’s our belief that service members injured by defective 3M earplugs deserve excellent legal care without out-of-pocket expenses.
Our initial consultations are free and we handle all cases on a contingency-fee basis. You’ll never pay us a dime until and unless we win your case. Work with a 3M Combat Arms earplugs lawyer in New Orleans with no risk to you.
Let Morris Bart Help You With Your Case
If you are unsure of whether or not you qualify, or if you’re ready to seek representation, call a New Orleans 3M Combat Arms earplugs attorney from Morris Bart, LLC. Our experienced lawyers 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 us assist you in the evaluation process. Don’t hesitate to call, our phone lines are answered 24/7. Reach out to us today to get started on your case.
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