Military

3M Combat Arms™ Earplugs Lawsuit - What's Going On?

August 29, 2019

If you or a loved one was a U.S. military service member, veteran or contractor between 2003 and 2015 who was diagnosed with partial or total hearing loss or suffer from tinnitus, you may have a claim against 3M.

Service members may be entitled to significant recovery for hearing loss due to allegedly defective 3M military-issued earplugs

Between 2003 and 2015, 3M manufactured the Dual-Ended Combat Arms™ Earplugs that were distributed to thousands of military personnel deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. In a recent settlement agreement with the United States Department of Justice, 3M agreed to pay $9.1 million to resolve allegations that they knowingly sold defective earplugs to the U.S. military. These settlement proceeds will not be distributed to military personnel. Our law firm, along with experienced referral law firm partners, are pursuing civil lawsuits to obtain compensation for hearing loss damages.

How were the earplugs defective?

Hearing loss and tinnitus are some of the most common ailments suffered by military personnel. The Veterans Administration has reported that there were over 1.6 million veterans seeking medical care for chronic tinnitus in just the last year!

The earplugs were designed so that they could be used on one end as traditional earplugs (yellow end) or flipped around (black or green end) to protect against louder noises such as explosions and gunfire. The Department of Justice alleged that 3M knew the earplugs did not fit well as they were too short or would loosen in some users' ears to the point that they were unable to effectively mitigate excessive noise thereby causing the exact type of ear damage they were expressly designed to alleviate. There were additional allegations that 3M manipulated test results in order to comply with government standards.

 3M manufactured the Dual-Ended Combat Arms™ Earplugs

Actions will "not go unnoticed"

Frank Robey, director of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command's Major Procurement Fraud Unit, issued a stark warning in response to the settlement:

"Today's settlement will ensure that those who do business with the government know that their actions will not go unnoticed... Properly made safety equipment, for use by our Soldiers, is vital to our military's readiness. Our agents will respond robustly to protect the safety of our military."

The case is United States ex rel. Moldex-Metric v. 3M Company, Case No. 3:16-cv-1533-MBS (D.S.C.).

If you or a loved one was a U.S. military service member, veteran or contractor between 2003 and 2015 who was diagnosed with partial or total hearing loss or suffer from tinnitus, you may have a claim against 3M. Click here for a free review of your case.

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter to receive important legal updates and class action refund opportunities delivered straight to your inbox.