The company 3M agreed to pay $9.1 million to settle allegations that the company knowingly sold defective earplugs to the U.S. military. The earplugs were standard issue in some branches of the military for at least 12 years.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), 3M and Aearo Technologies, Inc. allegedly failed to disclose design defects in the dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2). Aearo Technologies, Inc., which manufactured the CAEv2, was purchased by 3M in 2008.
The earplugs were used to block damaging sounds such as explosions, gunfire and aircraft yet allow service members to hear spoken commands and other important sounds.
False Claims Act Violations Alleged
The DOJ further stated that the settlement also resolves allegations that 3M violated the False Claims Act (FCA), a law that holds individuals and companies liable for defrauding government programs.
The DOJ began investigating the allegations after a whistleblower filed a lawsuit under the FCA over the earplugs. As part of the resolution, the whistleblower received $1.91 million. While 3M agreed to the settlement, the company has not admitted liability for the alleged defects in the earplugs.
Veterans with Hearing Loss Filing Lawsuits
The investigation may be over, but 3M still faces hundreds of lawsuits filed by military veterans who used the earplugs while deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. The former service members allege that they now suffer from hearing loss, tinnitus and other hearing problems because the earplugs failed to protect their hearing.
According to the complaints, the earplugs were too short to properly insert into the ear and this lead to the device loosening and letting in loud sounds that damaged the ear. Because the number of 3M lawsuit filings continues to grow, the complaints have been assigned to a federal court in Pensacola, Florida to make it easier to manage the cases.
You May Be Eligible to File a 3M Earplugs Lawsuit
If you were in the military between 2003 and 2015 and used the 3M earplugs and now suffer hearing loss problems, you may be eligible to file a civil case against 3M and pursue financial compensation. Our firm can help you do this. At Pratt Clay, LLC, we aggressively fight on behalf of injury victims nationwide by helping them pursue the maximum amount of compensation for their injuries.
Contact our firm at 404-566-9460 to discuss your potential 3M lawsuit with our personal injury attorneys.