If you or a loved one suffered hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing
in the ears), or other hearing damage due to the use of 3M Combat Arms
Earplugs, you may be eligible to file a 3M earplug lawsuit. Call Reeves & Mestayer today at 228-374-5151 or toll free
1-855-558-2977 for a free case assessment.

3M
Company, the well-known Minnesota-based manufacturer and defense department
contractor, recently agreed to pay $9.1 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit
brought by the U.S. government under the False Claims Act. The lawsuit alleged
that the company knowingly sold defective earplugs to the U.S. military. 

The
defective product, Combat
Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2), was widely used by the military from 2003 to
2015, during the height of combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Aearo
Technologies, the company that designed the earplugs and was acquired by 3M in
2008, knew about the design problems as early as 2000. The defective earplugs
may have caused significant hearing loss to anyone in the military who used
them during those years. 

Not
only did 3M/Aearo knowingly sell defective earplugs to the military, they took
aggressive action to prevent others from providing a more effective product. In
2012, 3M sued Moldex-Metric for patent infringement over their BattlePlugs.
Moldex won the lawsuit, the BattlePlugs are now being used by the military, and
3M’s CAEv2 product has been discontinued. Ironically, Moldex ended up being the
whistleblower that helped initiate the government’s lawsuit against 3M in 2016.

What Was the Problem with the Earplugs?

The
CAEv2 earplugs were dual-ended with the intention of providing both hearing
protection and the ability to communicate when necessary. Using one end, users
were supposed to be able to hear sounds at reasonable volumes, such as their
fellow soldiers talking to them. When they inserted the other end, they were
supposed to receive significant noise protection from loud sounds on the
battlefield, such as explosions and gunfire.

The
problem was that the plugs did not reach deep enough into the ear, because the
stem was too short. This caused the earplug to become loose, allowing
destructive sounds to enter the ear canal and potentially damage the user’s
hearing. Testing by the company that invented the earplug also showed that the
earplug had a noise reduction rating (NRR) of zero, which 3M admitted in a
False Claims Act lawsuit. 

As
a result of the defects in 3M’s earplugs, claims of tinnitus and hearing loss among
U.S. troops and veterans have skyrocketed in recent years. A growing number of
military members suffer hearing problems due to lack of proper protection from combat
noise, firing weapons in training, aircraft noise, and other noisy conditions
during training and on the battlefield.

Approximately
60% of all military personnel now report hearing loss after leaving the military.
As of 2014, more than 933,000 veterans were receiving disability compensation
for hearing loss and approximately 1.3 million were receiving compensation for
tinnitus.

How can Affected Veterans
and Active Duty Military Recover Compensation from 3M?

In
July of 2018, 3M agreed to pay the U.S. government $9.1 million to settle its
whistleblower lawsuit. However, the $9.1 million settlement will not go
directly to the service members whose hearing may have been damaged. To obtain
compensation, those affected must file a lawsuit directly against 3M and any
others that may have been involved. Troops and veterans who suffered hearing
loss, tinnitus, and other health problems because of the faulty CAEv2 earplugs
may be entitled to file a 3M combat earplug lawsuit even if they are receiving VA disability.

Do You Have a 3M
Earplug Lawsuit?  

If
you are a veteran or active duty U.S. military member and you experienced
hearing problems from using the 3M dual-ended combat earplugs, contact Reeves
& Mestayer today for a free consultation. Our seasoned product liability
lawyers are ready to go to work for you, and we will fight hard for the full
and fair compensation you deserve.

Call
our office today at 228-374-5151 or toll free 1-855-558-2977 or send us a
message through our online contact form. We
are currently accepting ear injury cases in all 50 states.

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