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In the early 2000s, a company called Aearo Technologies developed what it deemed as combat-worthy earplugs—earplugs designed for members of the military, allowing them to hear verbal commands or enemy approach while shielding them from the ultra-high-decibel sounds of combat. Unfortunately for these veterans, Aearo’s design (later purchased and manufactured by household name 3M) was defective. Hundreds of thousands of veterans who used these defective earplugs later developed tinnitus or hearing loss.
If you or a loved one developed hearing problems after using 3M Combat Arms earplugs, you may be entitled to compensation for these injuries. Below, we answer some of the most common questions veterans have about the 3M Combat Arms earplugs lawsuit.
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How Do I Qualify for a 3M Lawsuit?
To be eligible to sue 3M for your hearing loss or other hearing-related health issues, you’ll need to be able to prove three things:
- You served in a branch of the U.S. armed forces between 2003 and 2015;
- You were issued 3M Combat Arms earplugs during this time; and
- You suffered hearing loss or tinnitus after using the earplugs.
How Do I Claim 3M Earplug Lawsuit Benefits?
To take part in the 3M earplug lawsuit, it’s important to consult an experienced personal injury attorney. At The Ferraro Law Firm, we represent veterans and military members who have hearing damage from using 3M earplugs. The sooner you talk to an attorney, the more quickly your claim can be filed and proceed.
What is the Current Status of the 3M Earplug Lawsuit?
The first 3M earplug lawsuit was a qui tam whistleblower lawsuit that was filed in 2016. This lawsuit alleged that both Aearo and 3M knew about the defects in the Dual-Ended Combat Arms™ Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2), yet still allowed these earplugs to be distributed to soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. This lawsuit alleged that the companies were required, but failed, to disclose this information about the defective product to the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency before executing a contract to provide these earplugs to the military.
Ultimately, 3M settled this whistleblower lawsuit for $9.1 million in punitive damages, payable to the Department of Justice. The whistleblower received just under $2 million of this judgment and the rest went to the U.S. Department of Justice, not the veterans who were injured by these earplugs. As a result, these veterans began to file lawsuits against 3M—currently more than 290,000 lawsuits and counting.
These lawsuits have been consolidated in multi-district litigation (MDL) and transferred to the federal district court in the Northern District of Florida, before Judge M. Casey Rodgers. They mark the largest mass-tort litigation in U.S. history.
How Do I Know if I Was Issued 3M Earplugs?
Because Aearo and 3M were the exclusive provider of dual-ended combat arms earplugs to the military for a 12-year period between 2003 and 2015, if you served during that time, it’s a safe bet you used these earplugs. Your military service or medical records will also have a record of the equipment distributed to you. Your attorney can investigate your claim and confirm that these were the earplugs you were issued.
Earplugs Litigation Continues
If you or a loved one has developed hearing loss or tinnitus as a result of military-issued Combat Arms earplugs, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Every case regarding hearing issues is different. Whether you need to discuss permanent hearing loss or compensation for medical care our team of experienced attorneys will explain your options. Join hundreds of veterans and active-duty service members to hold Aearo Technologies, Inc. and 3M accountable for allowing defective equipment in combat. At The Ferraro Law Firm, we’re focused on each client’s case and will use all our resources to ensure you have the most robust representation possible. To schedule your free consultation, give us a call at 888-554-2030 or just fill out our free case consultation form and a member of our team will soon be in touch.
Frequently Asked Questions: 3M Combat Arms Earplugs
Is the combat earplug lawsuit real?
Every case is different. You may be given a settlement offer after just a few weeks; in other cases, it can take months or even more than a year. Your attorney can help move the case along and provide regular status reports on its progress.
Is there still time to join the 3M earplug lawsuit?
Yes. If you or a loved one served in the armed forces between 2003 and 2015 and wore 3M Combat Arms earplugs, you may be entitled to compensation.