History of 3M Combat Earplugs

Jackson Attorneys Advocating for Injured Veterans

3M EarplugsEarplugs are often purchased to prevent ear injuries and hearing loss. Military service members used 3M combat earplugs supplied to the United States Defense Logistics Agency to protect their ears and hearing. Unfortunately, the history of 3M combat earplugs shows that the earplugs may have been defective. It is alleged that the manufacturer 3M and the company that originally designed the earplugs, Aearo Technologies, knew that the earplugs were defective and might not fulfill their intended purpose of preventing injuries. They did not disclose the problem, and military service members were put at risk of suffering hearing loss and ear damage. If you were in the military and meet other qualifications, and your ears were injured or you lost your hearing because of the defects in 3M earplugs, the Jackson 3M earplug injury lawyers at Coxwell & Associates may be able to help you recover compensation through a product liability lawsuit.

History of 3M Combat Earplugs

The Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2) were developed by Aearo Technologies and then sold them to 3M. 3M developed the original design to allow the earplug to function in two ways. The earplugs developed by 3M were used exclusively by people in service in the Armed Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. They were worn from 2003 to 2015 by Army, Navy, and Air Force members. Unfortunately, the veterans and service members who wore the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs may have been harmed by them.

It has been alleged that the end that was placed in a user’s ear canal was insufficiently long. Therefore, sound could get around a loose earplug. A user could be exposed to the sounds of aircraft, gunfire, and explosions, from which he or she was supposed to be protected. Users might not even know that they were being exposed to these loud, harmful sounds. Many users suffered from hearing loss and tinnitus, conditions from which they believed that they were protected by using the earplugs.

Resulting Litigation

Civil lawsuits have alleged that the manufacturer 3M was aware of the problems with its earplugs in 2000, prior to the period of 2003-2015 when they were most in use. Whistleblower allegations were also made under the False Claims Act. Under the Act, private parties can sue on behalf of the United States government when a defendant submits false claims to procure money from the government. These whistleblowers can share in compensation obtained in a successful lawsuit on behalf of the government.

In this case, the whistleblower allegations were that 3M did not disclose to the Defense Logistics Agency, to which it supplied the Combat Arms Earplugs, that there were defects in the earplugs. The history of 3M combat earplugs suggests that 3M and Aearo Technologies allegedly knew that the earplugs were not long enough for proper insertion and protection but did not disclose this problem, even when the contract was being finalized. Ultimately, 3M paid out $9.1 million to settle the allegations of defective earplugs. Liability was not determined in the settlement. The whistleblower who reported the defect will be entitled to $1,911,000.

Product Liability Theories

If you meet certain qualifications and were harmed by the 3M Combat Earplugs, our attorneys may be able to bring a product liability lawsuit on your behalf. Generally, a product liability lawsuit can be based on one or more of three actionable defects: marketing defects (such as a failure to warn), manufacturing defects, and design defects. Based on other litigation, it is likely that your attorney would pursue damages based on a design defect because the earplugs could not be fully inserted to prevent sound from damaging the ears.

Consult an Earplug Injury Attorney in the Jackson Area

If you are a military service member or veteran and meet the qualifications for 3M Combat Earplug compensation, you should consult an experienced product liability lawyer. The history of 3M combat earplugs suggests that the company knew about a design defect, yet it failed to disclose this defect when a government contract for the earplugs was finalized. At Coxwell & Associates, we handle claims in Jackson and elsewhere in Mississippi that are related to 3M Combat Earplug compensation. Call us at (877) 231-1600 or complete our online form.

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