When the members of our nation’s armed forces volunteered to put their lives on the line to defend us, they understood what sacrifices they might be called on to make. However, those sacrifices stemmed from harms directed by enemy combatants, not harms caused by a military contractor’s carelessness. As a result, military service members who were injured by defective products supplied by a military contractor should be compensated for their injuries.
If you were an active duty military service member between 2003 and 2015, you might qualify for compensation for hearing conditions such as tinnitus and hearing loss due to defective combat earplugs supplied by 3M. At Foster & Sear, we are passionate about making sure companies take better care in designing and manufacturing safe products for the men and women of our armed forces. You deserve a chance at justice for your injuries.
3M Defective Earplug Litigation
3M is a major manufacturing company that specializes in industry, worker safety, health care, and consumer goods. 3M had an exclusive contract with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to supply the military with earplugs for use in combat and combat training. Among the earplugs 3M sold to the DoD were its Dual Ended Combat Arms earplugs.
3M’s Dual Ended Combat Arms earplugs were designed to provide users with two options for hearing protection. When users inserted the yellow end of the earplug into their ears, it was supposed to filter loud noises out while allowing low level sounds like human speech to pass through.
In 2017, 3M settled with the U.S. Department of Justice for $9 million regarding allegations that the company knowingly sold defective earplugs to the DoD without disclosing its risks. Shortly after, active duty military and veterans began filing individual lawsuits against 3M for their hearing conditions.
In 2019, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict litigation ordered hundreds of individual 3M lawsuits to be coordinated and managed by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida.
What Are the Risks of 3M’s Defective Earplugs?
The claims against 3M involve the defective design of its earplugs which allowed it to be unperceptively loosened, neutralizing its protective effect against impulsive high-level noises, such as firearms discharge and the detonation of explosives. As a result, users reported suffering from certain adverse hearing conditions.
Hearing conditions that can result from ear damage include:
Ringing, humming, hissing sensations (tinnitus)
Difficulty hearing people talk
Difficulty hearing certain pitches