Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuit
Suffered hearing damage due to Defective Military Earplugs?
In mid-2018, 3M agreed to settle allegations that the company, as well as its predecessor, Aearo Technologies Inc. knowingly sold defective military earplugs to the US Defense Logistics Agency. These defective earplugs were supplied to the US Military between 2003 and 2012. In 2008, during that time period, 3M acquired Aearo Technologies Inc.
Hearing problems – including tinnitus – are by far the most prevalent service-connected disability among American Veterans.
If you or a loved one has suffered hearing damage or loss due to factors related to the use of defective earplugs in the military you may be entitled to compensation, let us help you fight for justice.
As reported by the Star Tribune (excerpt below) the original qui tam (whistleblower) lawsuit was initiated by Moldex-Metric Inc. The lawsuit ultimately led to this settlement:
Without admitting liability, 3M Co. has agreed to pay $9.1 million to settle allegations that it supplied the U.S. military with defective earplugs, Department of Justice officials announced late Thursday.
The settlement, which involves the second version of 3M’s “dual-ended combat arms earplugs” (CAEv2), resolves a whistleblower’s allegations that 3M violated the federal False Claims Act by selling defective earplugs to the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency, Justice officials said in a statement.
“Specifically, the United States alleged that 3M, and its predecessor, Aearo Technologies Inc., knew the CAEv2 was too short for proper insertion into users’ ears and that the earplugs could loosen imperceptibly and therefore did not perform well for certain individuals. The United States further alleged that 3M did not disclose this design defect to the military,” the statement said.
The allegations were initially brought up in a 2016 lawsuit filed by a whistleblower, one recently identified (via unsealed court records) as the earplug maker Moldex-Metric Inc.
The defective military earplugs in question, which were discontinued, were the Dual-Ended Combat Arms™ Earplugs (CAEv2). These earplugs were standard military issue equipment for a period of no less than 12 years (2003 to 2015), for soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Millions of dollars’ worth of the defective earplugs were supplied to the armed forces. The men and women of the military were subjected to permanent hearing loss, tinnitus or hearing impairment as a result of using the 3M military earplugs. This very fact is highlighted by a combat veteran, Scott Rowe, who is suing 3M over alleged hearing damage. Mr. Rowe now suffers from Tinnitus, the perception of noise or ringing in the ears (Mayo Clinic). Military.com reported on this in late January 2019:
Months after popular manufacturer 3M reached a more than $9 million settlement to resolve allegations it supplied the U.S. military with defective earplugs, a former Army sergeant has filed his own lawsuit, claiming the gear left him with hearing damage and a constant ringing in his ears. His attorney says his complaint will likely be followed by hundreds more like it.
Scott Rowe, a combat veteran who deployed to Iraq from 2003 to 2004 as part of the 411th Military Police Company, filed the suit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Texas, Waco Division. He’s seeking unspecified damages for permanent ear damage he alleges was sustained while using the dual-ended Combat Arms earplugs 3M provided to the military under contract.
“During my deployment, we were given earplugs … we were told that these things were supposed to protect us,” Rowe said during a Tuesday press conference hosted by the Abraham Watkins Law Firm in Houston. “We have a company here that lied, that took our well-being in jeopardy. Now everyday, I have to live with a high-pitched frequency in my ear that’s deafening. I’m never at peace.”
What Made the Dual-Ended Combat Arms™ Earplugs Defective?
The dual-ended feature of these military earplugs were supposed to be the main benefit of the product. However the items were too short for proper, and therefore effective, insertion into the ear canal. This shortcoming of the product resulted in the earplugs loosening in the wearer’s ears and thereby rendering them ineffective in protecting the user from the harsh (deafening) sounds of gunfire and explosions.Thereby necessitating the need for Veterans to consult with a defective military earplugs lawyer regarding any prospective Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuit.
The dual ended earplugs were designed and manufactured as a ‘solution’ to:
- enabling either end of the earplug to be used for either complete blocking out of these explosive sounds, or to
- at least allow for low level sounds (such as verbal communication) to filter through.
The fact that these crucial items were knowingly designed and manufactured too short, ultimately rendered these advertised benefits literally null and void. VA studies have reported that more than two and a half million veterans suffer from and receive benefits for either tinnitus or permanent hearing loss or damage. If you or a loved one has suffered hearing damage or loss, served within the military during the 12 year period of 2003 to 2015 and were issued with these earplugs you may be entitled to compensation.
Veterans with tinnitus frequently have anxiety, depression, or both …
See studies on our Resources Page
Let us Help you fight for your rights
Speak directly with a 3M military earplug lawsuit attorney, who can provide you with the necessary guidance regarding the Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuit. Get a free no obligation consultation today!