Lawsuits Filed for Defective Combat Earplugs
Lawsuits have been filed against Minnesota-based 3M Company—manufacturer of the dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2)—knowingly sold defective earplugs for use in armed combat, placing soldiers at a higher risk of developing hearing disabilities.
3M Combat Arms Earplugs Were Used in All Military Conflict from 2003-2015
3M Combat Arms earplugs were designed for use in combat to protect soldiers from hearing damage caused by loud noises from aircraft machinery, gunfire, explosions, armored vehicles and more. Featuring a two-sided design, 3M Combat Arms earplugs were intended to allow soldiers to adjust the amount of sound they were subject to depending on whether they wore their earplugs dark side in, considered the “closed position,” or yellow side in, considered the “open position.”
Because hearing protection is mandatory for all military personnel, the development of 3M Combat Arms earplugs’ dual-protection design and claimed adjustability, comfortability and usability made them of interest to the U.S. military for use in combat. However, the hearing protection provided to the U.S. military by 3M is now linked to a range of hearing injuries including hearing loss, tinnitus and auditory processing disorder (APD) due to defects that decreased the effectiveness of hearing protection the earplug service offered.
3M Settles Defective Earplugs Allegations for $9.1 Million
In a settlement issued in July 2018, the U.S. government alleged that 3M and its predecessor, Aearo Technologies, Inc., were aware that their dual-ended combat earplugs were too short for proper insertion yet failed to disclose known defects to the U.S. military. To resolve the lawsuit filed against the company–a result of whistleblower allegations under The False Claims Act– 3M agreed to pay $9.1 million in damages. Though the case has been resolved, the company has not admitted liability.
Additional Lawsuits Filed
Now, veterans and active duty service members who used the 3M Combat Arms earplugs and continue to suffer from hearing impairment as a result of their service, have filed lawsuits against 3M claiming that the company knowingly designed, made and sold defective Combat Arms earplugs without any warning of the defects. Injuries such as hearing loss, Tinnitus and APD have a severe effect on the lives of those affected, the lawsuits claim, and thus 3M should be held responsible for the damages caused, including but not limited to:
- Future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Physical impairment and disfigurement
- Mental anguish
- Loss of wages.
Speak with An Experienced Attorney at The Law Offices of Peter Angelos
Active duty service members who used the defective earplugs, while risking their lives in defense of our country, now suffer lifelong hearing impairment due to the alleged wrongdoing of 3M and Aearo Technologies. We believe that it is reprehensible to knowingly place our nation’s service members at risk of permanent injury through negligence and deceit. If you or a loved one served in the U.S. military between 2003 and 2015 and experienced hearing damage due to defective earplugs, we urge you to contact The Law Offices of Peter Angelos, as you may be entitled to pursue compensation.