3M Sued by Military Service Members Over Defective Combat Arms Earplugs
Written By: Rheingold, Valet, Rheingold, Ruffo & Giuffra LLP
3M, the world-known manufacturing company, is facing pressure from a multitude of lawsuits originating from its defective Dual-Ended Combat Arms™ Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2). According to reports from the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), 3M knowingly sold the defective earplugs to the Armed Forces between 2003 and 2015. As a result, potentially millions of military service members are suffering from hearing loss and tinnitus.
Approximately 2.2 million of the Combat Arms Earplugs were sold to the U.S. military for more than a decade. The earplugs were provided to all branches of the Armed Forces for use in a number of warzones and engagements, including Afghanistan and Iraq. It is believed that nearly 1.6 million active infantrymen and other service members were supplied the defective earplugs, which is a population size equivalent to about 20% of the entire U.S. military. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) data shows a clear rise of hearing loss and tinnitus diagnosed in military service members between 2003 and 2015, with a decline starting in 2016 when the 3M earplugs were discontinued from use.
In 2016, a whistleblower lawsuit was filed under the False Claims Act from a third party earplug manufacturer. In that lawsuit, it was alleged 3M and Aearo Technologies — the original manufacturer of the Combat Arms Earplugs that 3M purchased in 2008 — both knew of the earplugs’ defects as early as 2000. The lawsuit also alleged 3M fraudulently submitted inaccurate testing reports in order to comply with the military’s standards. The whistleblower lawsuit ended with 3M agreeing to pay a $9.1 million settlement to the DOJ.
Do You Have a Claim Against 3M?
Did you serve in the United States Armed Forces between 2003 and 2015? If so, you were probably provided 3M Combat Arms Earplugs for your primary ear protection given that 3M had an exclusive contract with the DOJ at that time. The 3M Combat Arms Earplugs are dual-ended, with one conical end colored yellow and the other conical end colored drab green. Only earplugs that fit this description are known to be defective, falling out of the ears or loosening unexpectedly during regular use.
Have you been diagnosed with hearing loss or tinnitus during or since your time in service? Or, are you experiencing symptoms of unilateral hearing loss, bilateral hearing loss, or tinnitus? Symptoms of tinnitus include a ringing in the head or ears, which may be constant, frequent, or seemingly random. If so, and you served in the military in the given years, the likeliness 3M worsened or contributed to your hearing problems is high.
At this time, Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP is looking into potential claims for military service members, both retired and active. We believe that our country’s protectors deserve utmost respect, so it is an honor for us to have the chance to uphold your rights to compensation. You may be able to seek compensation to pay for medical costs, pain and suffering, and a generally lowered enjoyment of life caused by the hearing loss.
Throughout our 30+ years of collective legal experience, our New York personal injury lawyers have successfully recovered more than $2 billion for our clients. Put that caliber of representation in your corner and by your side by contacting us today.
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