3M Knowingly Sold Defective Earplugs to the Military for 13 Years

Thousands of lawsuits have been filed by soldiers and veterans with hearing loss linked to 3M's Combat Arms military earplugs.

Complaints filed against 3M allege that the company knowingly sold defective military earplugs that were used by U.S. service personnel for 13 years. Hundreds of lawsuits against 3M have been filed by military veterans who suffered hearing damage since the defects with 3M’s Combat Arms Ear Plugs were made public.

The Combat Arms Ear Plugs were originally developed by Aero Technologies before the company was acquired by 3M in 2009. The earplugs were designed to protect military personnel against hearing damage caused by gunfire, explosions, or other loud noises during combat. Combat Arms Ear Plugs were used by soldiers in all branches of the military from 2003 through 2015. Until 2012, they were the only earplugs used by service personnel.

In 2003, Aero Technologies conducted tests on the Combat Arms Ear Plugs, which revealed that they were less than half as effective at reducing loud noises as the minimum noise reduction rating (NPR) required by the U.S. military. Despite the findings of these tests, Aero Technologies and 3M false certified to the military that their Combat Arms Ear Plugs met military safety standards.

The problems with 3M’s military earplugs came to light as a result of a whistleblower lawsuit filed against the company on behalf of the U.S. government under the False Claims Act. The lawsuit alleged that 3M had knowingly defrauded the federal government to the turn of millions of dollars by falsely certifying that its Combat Arms Ear Plugs met federal safety standards.

In 2018, 3M was ordered to pay $9.1 million in damages for concealing problems with the company’s military ear plugs from the Defense Department and other government agencies. In a press release, a spokesman for the Justice Department stated that, “government contractors who seek to profit at the expense of our military will face appropriate consequences.”

Lawsuits Filed Against 3M Over Defective Military Earplugs

In the wake of the $9.1 million verdict against 3M, hundreds of veterans have filed lawsuits against the company. The lawsuits allege that these veterans have suffered permanent hearing damage as a result of being forced to use 3M’s defective earplugs in combat situations where they were exposed to loud noises.

3M’s Combat Arms Ear Plugs were used in all branches of the military, including the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Air Force. Soldiers who served in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Operation Ocean Shield, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen may be at risk of hearing loss, hearing damage, or tinnitus as a result of using 3M earplugs in combat.

Veterans With Hearing Loss May Qualify to File a Lawsuit

If you or a loved one served in the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, or Air Force between 2003 and 2015, used Combat Arms Ear Plugs, and have been diagnosed with hearing loss, you may qualify to file a lawsuit against 3M. The first step in taking legal action is to speak with an experienced product liability attorney, who can guide you through the process of filing a claim.

The lawyers at Hissey, Mulderig & Friend have represented thousands of individuals who have been injured by defective consumer products, dangerous drugs, or harmful medical devices. Our firm believes that all citizens – especially those who put their lives on the line for their country – should be entitled to outstanding legal representation to make sure that their legal rights are protected.

For more information about the military earplugs lawsuits against 3M and to find out if you may qualify to file a case, contact the lawyers at Hissey, Mulderig & Friend for a free legal consultation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-866-806-8117, or by answering a few simple questions in our free case evaluation form on the right side of this page.

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