A class action lawsuit happens when the defendant is sued by a group of people who sustained the same (or similar) injuries from a defective product or action. The purpose of a class action is to seek justice for the harm caused by that product or action.
In July 2018, a class action lawsuit was settled against the company 3M for selling defective earplugs to the United States government.
What Are the Details of the 3M Class Action Lawsuit?
The lawsuit began in 2016 when a whistleblower coming forward under the False Claims Act. 3M (and its predecessor, Aero Technologies) was accused of falsifying claims that their Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) met required safety standards for hearing protection.
The earplugs were standard-issued for military armed forces members in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2003 and 2015. The earplugs were designed to be dual-ended, meaning each earbud had two sides for different purposes:
- One side fully “closed” the ear to block out all sounds like regular earplugs.
- The other side greatly reduced loud sounds from the battlefield and gunfire while still allowing soldiers to hear quieter sounds like commands from fellow soldiers.
3M did not disclose any issues with the earplugs to the government. In reality, the earplugs were defective: they were too short to insert properly into some people’s ears. They gradually became looser with use, leaving the user vulnerable to hearing-related damage without them realizing it. Researchers tried to fix the loosening effect of the earplugs, but had no luck. The hearing tests were also not outsourced, which is standard procedure for these types of products, and testing showed their noise protection rating was 10.9, well below the 22 rating required for proper protection.
This defect left thousands of military service members open to possible hearing damage, which led to the class action lawsuit.
According to the Department of Justice, the lawsuit was settled in July 2018 when 3M agreed to pay $9.1 million to the U.S. government for failing to disclose the defects of the product. 3M allegedly knew about the issue with the earplugs since as early as 2000. Under the False Claims Act, which allows the whistleblower to gain a percentage of damages won in a successful lawsuit, the whistleblower will receive $1.9 million as part of the settlement.
Who Was Affected By the 3M Defect?
Any U.S. military servicemen or servicewomen who were active between 2003 and 2015 may have been affected by the earplugs defect. The U.S. government believed the 3M earplugs were providing the required standard of protection to soldiers’ ears during this time, so the defect may have negatively affected anyone who used them.
If you used the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) at any time from 2003 to 2015 and now have hearing loss or tinnitus (a ringing, buzzing, or roaring in the ears not caused by external sounds), you could be eligible for financial recovery from the 3M earplugs class action lawsuit.
Hearing damage is already extremely common in veterans. There is no cure for tinnitus, and hearing loss impacts a veteran’s entire life in many ways. The 3M earplugs failed in their duty to protect soldiers from the loud, damaging sounds of training and combat. These defects have just compounded the injuries and led more veterans to seek disability benefits for their hearing impairments.
If you were harmed by the earplugs, you deserve compensation for what you’ve suffered. Contact a 3M Combat Arms lawsuit lawyer today to ensure you meet the requirements. An experienced lawyer will listen to your experience, determine if your situation meets the requirement for a claim against 3M, and help you navigate the legal process.
Free Consultation a 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawyer
Don’t let 3M get away with the damages it’s personally caused you from defective earplugs. At John Foy & Associates, we support our military members. The lawsuit was settled between 3M and the government, but we’re here to help the individuals still living with the costs of hearing damage.
If you have hearing damage and were active in the military between 2003 and 2015, contact us today. Working with us is risk-free (we don’t get paid unless we win you money), and we’ll start with a FREE consultation to discuss your eligibility in the 3M lawsuit. For your free consultation, call us today at 404-400-4000, or fill out the form to the right as soon as possible for your free consultation.