What Are Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs?
The 3M Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs were designed to protect the hearing of the wearer using two primary functions; when inserted one way the wearer would be able to hear sounds at reasonable volumes, such as speech, and when inserted in the opposite direction the wearer would get better noise protection from sounds such as gunfire or explosions. While this design seemed promising, it was found that the earplugs did not reach deep enough into the ear due to the stem being too short. The flaw causes the earplugs to come loose and allow destructive sounds such as gunfire, explosions, and machinery to enter the ear canal, potentially damaging the wearer’s hearing. Claims of hearing damage and tinnitus have increased significantly due to this design defect.
3M Earplugs Linked to Hearing Damage
U.S. military personnel who were issued the Dual-Ended Combat Arms between 2003 and 2015 may have experienced hearing damage due to the defective design of the 3M earplugs.
3M EARPLUGS RISK
U.S. military personnel who were issued the Dual-Ended Combat Arms between 2003 and 2015 may have experienced hearing damage due to the defective design of the 3M earplugs. Troops were sent into Iraq and Afghanistan without proper ear protection due to 3M’s defective earplug design.
3M EARPLUGS SIDE EFFECTS
- The ability to hear correctly will gradually fade away
- Ringing in the ears
- Irregular or continuous sounds in the ears (buzzing, ringing, hissing)
- Caused by exposure to damaging levels of sound
3M Earplugs Lawsuit
On July 26, 2018, the Department of Justice announced that the 3M company would pay $9.1 million due to allegations of selling defective military earplugs to the U.S. Military. The 3M military earplugs lawsuit accuses the company of selling defective earplugs and failing to warn the military of the potential design defects that could lead to tinnitus and hearing loss.
The allegations connected to the settlement also include Aearo Technologies Inc, who was acquired by 3M in 2008. Both 3M and Aero Technologies were accused of knowing that the 3M earplugs were too short to be fully inserted into the ear and provide insufficient protection for users. Although 3M agreed to pay $9.1 million to the US Government to resolve these matters, the company has admitted no wrongdoing and accepted no liability.
Many pending defective 3M earplug lawsuits filed by U.S. Military veterans have been moved to a multi-district litigation (MDL) in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida, despite some cases originally requesting to be moved to the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, the home state of 3M Company’s headquarters. The transferred lawsuits involve 3M’s Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs that were used by U.S. troops from 2003-2015. These qualified cases will be seen by the Honorable Federal Judge Casey Rodgers, who is a U.S. veteran and well qualified to preside over a large products liability multi-district litigation. On July 27, 2020, Judge Rodgers denied 3M’s claim for using government contractors’ defense, in which protects companies from liability for defective products designed and produced for the federal government.
Moldex-Metric, Inc files a lawsuit against 3M Company claiming that the company sold the U.S. government Combat Arms Earplugs even though they knew the product wouldn’t provide safe ear protection.
JULY 26, 2018
3M Company pays $9.1 million to settle claims that they knowingly sold defective earplugs to the U.S. Military and violated the False Claims Act.
640 3M earplug lawsuits are sent to a U.S. district court in Pensacola, Florida. The cases are part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL) and U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers of the Northern District of Florida is chosen to preside over the cases.
JULY 27, 2020
U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers denied 3M’s government contractors defense, allowing 3M earplug lawsuits to proceed.
Four bellwether trial groups were selected by the court and include groups of six cases, the first of which will begin in April 2021.