The Minnesota-based 3M Company, a defense contractor, sold its dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2, to the military without disclosing defects that decreased the effectiveness of the hearing protection. 3M violated the False Claims Act by selling or causing to be sold defective 3M ear plugs to the U.S. military. 3M decided to settle in order to avoid a lengthy legal battle. These defective earplugs were standard-issue for U.S. military members from 2003 to 2015. The defective ear plugs may have caused significant hearing loss or tinnitus in military Veterans.
Colin Kemmerly, Managing Partner and Head of the VA Disability Department at Gardberg and Kemmerly, said, “Manufacturers’ like 3M have an obligation to provide non-defective equipment, such as the dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2, to our military members. 3M knew their earplugs were defective when delivered. The defective 3M earplugs caused hearing loss injuries that will unnecessarily impact military members and veterans every day for the rest of their lives. 3M must be held accountable for placing profit over people.”
3M has reached a 9.1 million settlement with the U.S. government, after the government alleged that 3M knew that the earplugs were “too short for proper insertion in user’s ears,” and as a result, the earplugs could gradually loosen until they did not perform the anticipated noise cancellation. The U.S. government also alleged that 3M did not disclose this defect when the contract was finalized. These allegations were brought under whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act.
Special Agent in Charge, Robert Craig, Jr., from the DCIS Mid-Atlantic Field Office stated, “This settlement demonstrates the commitment of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and our law enforcement partners to hold companies accountable to supplying substandard products, in particular products that could directly impact our service members’ health and welfare.”
If you are a Veteran or active duty member
· who was issued military ear plugs between 2003 and 2015
· and suffers from hearing loss or tinnitus despite wearing military issued ear plugs
you may be eligible to seek compensation for your injuries.
Our law firm is evaluating cases and seeking compensation for individuals who have experienced serious hearing loss after using the 3M Combact Arms Earplugs Version 2 during deployment or training. Call our office to complete a confidential no cost case evaluation. We do no charge a fee unless we recover for you. You can reach our office by calling (251)343-1111 or 1-800-332-1529. You can also reach us by emailing us at [email protected].