South Carolina Injury Attorneys
Defective 3M Earplugs Lawsuit

Defective 3M Earplugs Lawsuit

Thousands of active military members and veterans are filing lawsuits against Minnesota-based 3M, alleging the company’s Combat Arms Earplugs, version 2 (CAEv2) were defective and did not provide the hearing protection they were supposed to offer. Military members who used the earplugs claim their ears were damaged because of the defect and are seeking compensation for losses.

A product liability claim can be filed against a company if a flaw in the design or development of their product caused harm. In the case of 3M’s defective combat earplugs, the product was designed with stems that were not long enough to be properly inserted into the user’s ears, allowing exposure to loud sounds that resulted in noise-induced hearing loss.

Lawsuits May Continue to Grow

The CAEv2 were standard issue to military members deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan between 2003 and 2015. During that time, thousands of service men and women received the earplugs, and experts believe many more military members are likely to pursue lawsuits against 3M.

3M Settled Defective Earplug Allegations in 2018

The individual service member lawsuits are not the first to be filed against 3M. A 2016 lawsuit claimed the company, and its predecessor, Aearo Technologies Inc., knew about the defect but sold the CAEv2 to the Defense Logistics Agency nevertheless. The lawsuit was filed under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, which allows a third-party to pursue a claim on the government’s behalf when they believe deceptive tactics were used to secure government funds.

Aearo designed and manufactured the earplugs in 2000; 3M acquired the company in 2008.

While 3M paid $9.1 million to settle the allegations and reimburse the U.S. Government for purchase of the earplugs, the company did not admit liability for the defect.

About the Earplugs’ Design

The dual-ended CAEv2 had a green stem and a yellow stem, each end offering a different level of hearing protection. When the green end was inserted into the ear, the CAEv2 was supposed to block all sounds; when the yellow end was inserted, it was supposed to restrict high-level sounds while allowing low-level sounds like voices to be heard. The earplugs were claimed to be an effective solution for military personnel who need protection from harmful noises, such as explosions and gunfire, but also need to hear commands and approaching enemies.

Unfortunately, the stems did not fit tight enough in the ear. The earplugs could loosen without the soldier being aware, exposing them to intense combat sounds. Many soldiers who used the earplugs developed hearing loss and tinnitus as a result.

We’re Committed to Fighting for Injured Victims. Call Christian & Christian for Help.

If you are an active military member or veteran who was issued the CAEv2 and suffered hearing loss, you may be entitled to pursue a claim to obtain compensation for damages. At Christian & Christian, we have over 100 years of combined legal experience and have we are here to help individuals who were harmed by the 3M company’s negligence.

Call us at (864) 408-8890 or contact us online to discuss your case.


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