Veterans Claim Defective 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Left Them Unprotected on the Battlefield
A growing number of U.S. veterans with service-related hearing loss and tinnitus have filed lawsuits against the 3M Company, the manufacturer of allegedly defective military earplugs.
3M Combat Arms Earplugs Standard Issue for Over a Decade
From 2003 through 2015, the U.S. military distributed millions of 3M Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2, to active duty personnel deployed around the world.
The dual-ended earplugs supposedly protected servicemen and women from gunfire, explosions, and other loud impact noises typically encountered in combat. According to recent lawsuits, however, Combat Arms Earplugs didn’t maintain a tight seal and exposed users to damaging sounds.
The complaints further allege that testing revealed these defects in 2000. Rather than disclose the problems, 3M falsely certified that the earplugs met the standards of its military contract.
3M Paid $9.1 Million to Settle Military Earplugs Whistleblower Lawsuit
In May 2016, a whistleblower lawsuit alleged 3M concealed defects that could render Combat Arms Earplugs ineffective on the battlefield.
A 3M competitor brought the complaint under the False Claims Act, which allows private parties to sue contractors that defraud the federal government. The U.S. Department of Justice investigated the claims and eventually agreed to intervene in the case.
In July 2018, federal prosecutors announced a $9.1 million settlement with 3M to resolve those allegations.
“The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the men and women serving in the United States military from defective products and fraudulent conduct,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler said in a statement announcing the settlement. “Government contractors who seek to profit at the expense of our military will face appropriate consequences.”
120 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuits Pending in U.S. Courts
Veterans began to sue the 3M Company for service-related hearing impairments shortly after the federal settlement became public.
According to Courthouse News Service, at least 120 Combat Arms Earplugs lawsuits were pending as of February 20th. Veterans are filing new cases every day, suggesting the litigation could grow to include thousands of cases.
On March 28th, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will meet to determine whether the lawsuits should be consolidated in one federal jurisdiction.
Call 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here to Contact Our Undefeated Combat Arms Earplugs Lawyers for a Free Consultation
Our Undefeated Defective Product Lawyers are investigating hearing loss, tinnitus, and other service-related hearing disorders affecting U.S. military veterans who were issued 3M Combat Arms Earplugs while on active duty from 2003 through 2015.
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