Vets and Active Military Members Filing Lawsuits Over 3M’s Defective Earplugs
Minnesota-based 3M is facing hundreds of lawsuits alleging the company knowingly supplied defective earplugs to the U.S. military. The servicemen and women who initiated the suits claim that, after using the company’s Combat Arms Earplugs version 2 (CAEv2), they suffered hearing loss and tinnitus.
The Design of the CAEv2
The earplugs were designed by Aearo Technologies, Inc., which 3M acquired in 2008, and were advertised as a product that would provide the protection military members needed when in training or combat. The dual-ended, conical shaped plugs had both a yellow stem and a green stem that were supposed to provide two levels of hearing protection. When the green end was inserted into the ear, it was supposed to block all levels of sound; the yellow end was supposed to block high-level noises, such as missile blasts and gunfire, while allowing low-level sounds to be heard.
Unfortunately, a defect in the design resulted in the stems being too short to be properly inserted into the ear. Unbeknownst to the user, the earplugs could loosen, exposing them to dangerous sound levels and damaging their ears.
One of the lawsuits claims that 3M knew about this defect but falsified test results so the earplugs would comply with military standards.
Previous Lawsuit Filed Against 3M
In 2016, a third-party filed a similar lawsuit on behalf of the U.S. government. The suit claimed that 3M knowingly sold the defective earplugs to the Defense Logistics Agency, which purchased 15,000 packages. In 2018, 3M settled those allegations by paying the government $9.1 million. However, the company did not admit liability for designing defective earplugs.
Many More Lawsuits Expected to Be Filed
Between 2003 and 2015, the CAEv2 were standard issue to military members deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. Because of the length of time in which the earplugs were issued, experts believe the lawsuits that have been initiated so far are just the tip of the iceberg.
Call Haines Law, P.C. to Schedule a Free Consultation
When a company distributes a defective product that causes harm to consumers, as was the case with 3M, injured individuals may be entitled to pursue legal action to recover compensation for damages. If you were issued the CAEv2 and suffered hearing loss or tinnitus, our team at Haines Law, P.C. can provide the legal representation you need. We have years of experience handling these types of cases and are prepared to fight to protect your rights and hold the company liable.
Schedule your free consultation by calling us at (281) 975-0031 or contacting us online.