In 2018, company 3M settled a lawsuit with the US government for $9.1 million. The case revolved around earplugs that 3M manufactured specifically for the US military (Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2). The lawsuit was brought under the False Claims Act and alleged that the earplugs were defective. Further, the lawsuit alleged that 3M had known about the defect since 2000, but left this information undisclosed to the US military while also falsifying a certification that the earplugs were compliant with military standards.
The settlement in that case did not cover damages sustained by the men, women, and contractors who used the earplugs and subsequently suffered severe hearing-related ear issues. However, servicemembers, veterans, and military contractors who sustained injuries have the right to pursue compensation from 3M.
What do newly unsealed documents tell us?
Newly unsealed documents related to lawsuits in these earplug cases show that 3M executives joked about earning massive margins from the Defense Department and dismissed concerns about their transparency over the potentially defective product.
So far, there have been approximately 140,000 lawsuits filed by US service members over injuries allegedly caused by the defective combat earplugs. 3M has repeatedly rejected any wrongdoing in the cases.
In a pair of recently unsealed depositions related to the cases, 3M officials say that they did not think it was important for soldiers to know that the earplugs had been tested in a different way than how they would be used in the field. When a 3M sales manager was asked in a deposition whether soldiers were “entitled to know” this information, the manager replied, “I don’t believe so.”
In another deposition, the former vice president of Aearo Technologies was asked if it was okay for 3M to conceal information about potential defects in the earplug from the government. His response was, “I suppose it is, if the product is working in most cases.”
Let us help you with your case
If you or somebody you love served in the military or as a military contractor and subsequently sustained hearing or ear-related injuries, you need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The 3M combat earplugs at the center of these lawsuits were standard issue for most military personnel and contractors, and their hearing damage may be related to this defective product.
At Colson Hicks Eidson, we want you to know that you may have a claim if you:
- Served in the military or a military contractor between the years 2001 and 2016.
- Used military standard earplugs while serving.
- Have been diagnosed with a hearing-related injury.
- Suffer from hearing-related injury symptoms.
Our award-winning, nationally recognized law firm has extensive experience handling defective product claims against major corporations like 3M. We are a Florida-based personal injury firm, but we handle nationwide cases of this nature. We are ready to help you secure any compensation you may be entitled to due to defective combat earplugs made by 3M. This could include coverage of your medical bills, any lost earnings you have incurred due to hearing loss, as well as pain and suffering damages. You can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or by calling us at 305-476-7400.