Did you or a loved one suffer hearing loss or develop tinnitus after serving in the US military between 2003 and 2015? You may be eligible to secure significant financial compensation.

  • 3M accused of selling defective earplugs
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Some former and active duty military may be able to file a lawsuit against 3M. Learn more about your legal options in a free consultation today.

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Were you or a loved one an active service member in the US infantry between 2003 and 2015? Were you deployed to a US war zone? Did you serve in Iraq and Afghanistan? Do you suffer from partial or full hearing loss, tinnitus or other hearing issues?

US Government Accuses 3M Of Fraud In Military Earplug Scandal

If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions, you may be the victim of fraud. Think back to your time in the military. Were you issued a pair of earplugs? Those earplugs were manufactured by 3M, and there’s substantial evidence that they were defective. In point of fact, 3M recently settled a massive whistleblower lawsuit filed over those earplugs for $9.1 million.

Soldiers Boarding Airplane

Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2

The earplugs you received as a service member in Iraq or Afghanistan are called Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2, or CAEv2. The model in question features a dual design, with one side being yellow and the other black. When inserted, the yellow side allows the wearer to hear low-level sounds. The black side attempts to block all sound.

The CAEv2 was developed by a company called Aearo Technologies, which was purchased by 3M in 2008 for $1.2 billion dollars. These earplugs were manufactured only for the US military, after Aearo Technologies signed an exclusive contract through the Defense Logistics Agency and became the sole supplier of selective attenuation earplugs to the US military.

Between 2003 and 2015, 3M and Aearo Technologies supplied around 2.2 million pairs of earplugs to the US military for use in Iraq and Afghanistan. The earplugs were widely used in war zones; servicemen and women relied on them to protect their hearing.

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Are 3M’s Military Earplugs Defective?

Now, there is substantial evidence that those earplugs were defective. As alleged in a recent whistleblower lawsuit, the CAEv2 earplugs may be too short to adequately protect the hearing of users. These allegations, backed by the US Department of Justice, continue to claim that the CAEv2 earplug was designed too short for proper insertion, and may come loose inside the ear, failing to protect the user’s hearing.

There are also claims that 3M and Aearo Technologies were aware of these defects, but did nothing to warn the US military, Military Times reports. In fact, attorneys say Aearo Technologies knew about the earplug’s deficiencies as early as 2000.

Whistleblower Suit Says Earplugs Too Short For Proper Hearing Protection

Allegations of wrongdoing only emerged in 2016, when 3M competitor and ear plug manufacturer Moldex Metric filed a whistleblower lawsuit in federal court, accusing 3M of selling the US military defective earplugs and knowing about it. In court documents, Moldex Metric’s attorneys argued that 3M knew about material defects that decreased the effectiveness of the ear plugs, but failed to disclose these facts to the military.

US Government Joins Case As Plaintiff

Eventually, the US Department of Justice joined the case as a plaintiff, pursuing 3M in court for violations of the False Claims Act. “Specifically,” the Justice Department wrote, “the United States alleged that 3M, and its predecessor, Aearo Technologies, Inc., knew the CAEv2 was too short for proper insertion into users’ ears and that the earplugs could loosen imperceptibly and therefore did not perform well for certain individuals.”

In 2018, 3M finally decided to settle the government’s lawsuit, agreeing to pay a total of $9.1 million in compensation to resolve the allegations that it knowingly sold the US military defective earplugs. “Government contractors who seek to profit at the expense of our military will face appropriate consequences,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad Readler in a press release issued after the decision.

Compensation May Be Available For Injured Service Members

Moldex Metric received a total of $1.91 million for bringing the original qui tam (whistleblower) lawsuit on which the allegations were based. The remaining amount of the settlement went to reimburse the US military. To date, no financial compensation has been paid out to injured servicemen and women who relied on the earplugs.

That might change soon. In a growing area of litigation, current and former members of the US military have begun to file personal injury lawsuits against 3M, accusing the company of negligence and fraud, in line with allegations contained in the whistleblower lawsuit.

Learn More About Filing A 3M Earplug Lawsuit

Did you suffer hearing loss in Iraq or Afghanistan? Do you experience tinnitus, a constant, maddening ringing in the ears? You may be eligible to file a lawsuit. If you were issued a pair of Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs, you may have been unknowingly exposed to dangerous sound levels in training and combat.

Hearing loss ranks among the most common injuries suffered by active duty and former service members. Tinnitus isn’t far behind. Both conditions can be disabling. We understand how frustrating and maddening these hearing problems can be. Our attorneys have spoken to dozens of former military who are sick and tired of suffering from these debilitating disorders. Many of them have chosen to pursue financial compensation.

You deserved better. You deserved to receive the highest-quality equipment. Instead, a respected company with billions in revenue allegedly lied to the US military and every service member who relied on earplugs to protect their hearing. That’s unacceptable, but you can fight back. We can help. Our committed personal injury attorneys have the extensive experience and resources necessary to pursue these claims in a court of law.

Legal Support At Your Fingertips

Filing a lawsuit doesn’t have to be scary. Nor does it have to be expensive. Our experienced lawyers only work on a contingency-fee basis; that means you pay us nothing until we secure compensation in your case. You can pursue compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. Don’t hesitate to learn more. We offer free consultations, so you can find more information about your legal options at no charge and no obligation.

Contact The Product Lawyers for a free consultation (877) 671-6480