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How Can You Join the 3M Combat Arms Earplug Lawsuit?

Qualified military service members can speak with an experienced product liability attorney to learn more about joining the 3M Combat Earplug lawsuit. At Gerling Law, our defective product attorneys are here to help injured service members recover compensation for their injuries.

Damages in other military earplug lawsuits have included current and future medical expenses, lost wages, diminished earning capacity, physical pain and suffering, and mental anguish. When you meet with us, we can explain your damages and what potential compensation you might recover from litigation.

What Went Wrong with 3M Earplugs?

The federal government issued a government request for proposal to Aearo Technologies in 2003 for military earplugs. Aearo falsely certified that their Combat Arms Earplugs met the government standard for noise reduction rating (NPR) and would protect military members from losing their hearing if they were exposed to damaging sounds, like a bomb. Aearo's testing was negligent. They went ahead and certified the earplugs as having been tested at the government-required NPR rate of 22. However, the reality is the earplugs were only around 10.9 NPR, which is a massive difference.

During this testing phase, they also learned of additional problems with the earbuds being too short. When 3M bought Aearo Technologies, they kept on some former Aearo employees, including some developers who already knew about the Combat Arms Earplug problems. The Department of Justice discovered during its whistleblower suit that employees might have known about the defects as early as 2000 during the pre-market testing phase.

These 3M defective earplugs were used in numerous military conflicts during the years they were on the market. These conflicts include:

  • War in Afghanistan;
  • Iraq War;
  • War in Somalia;
  • American-led Libya intervention;
  • American-led Syria intervention;
  • American-led Iraq intervention;
  • Operation Ocean Shield (Indian Ocean); and
  • Yemeni Civil War.

Relying on false information, the United States Marine Corps was convinced the earplugs would work as described. They ordered over 20,000 pairs in 2003, which resulted in a temporary depletion of the national stock.

If knowingly selling the defective earplugs wasn't enough, 3M worked to prevent competitors from selling products that would protect active military members. In 2012, 3M initiated patent infringement litigation against Moldex-Metric's BattlePlugs. These BattlePlugs are what the military now purchases for service members.

Is the Military Earplug Lawsuit Going on Right Now?

There is currently pending litigation in both state and federal courts regarding 3M's defective earplugs. The multidistrict litigation (“MDL”) is a collection of product liability actions regarding whether 3M was negligent in its design, testing, and labeling of the earplugs. Military veterans have alleged in their lawsuits that 3M not only supplied military members with defective earplugs but also failed to warn of the defect.

On April 20, 2020, the judge in the MDL class action ordered that 3M records uncovered by victims' lawyers could be made available to the public. Those records showed that these earplugs cost 85 cents to make but were sold to the military for $7.63. That is a huge profit for a manufacturer to make at the expense of the American taxpayers.

What's the Next Step I Should Take?

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, tinnitus affects at least one in ten American adults and is the top disability among military veterans. If you were involved in active military conflict activities during the years listed above and used the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs, you need to get your hearing testing. Hearing loss can happen even when you suffered no apparent injuries during your years of service.

Your tinnitus and hearing loss may not have been caused by a single exposure, like a bomb blast. You could also have developing hearing problems after long-term exposure, such as being stationed in an engine room or on an aircraft carrier's decks. That is why it's crucial to check on your hearing loss if you haven't already sought medical testing. Aearo and 3M knew they were letting military members wear defective earplugs; it's time to hold them accountable.

Before meeting with an attorney, it is helpful to start gathering all your medical and military records. We need to collect all evidence to increase your potential recovery amount.

Finding a Lawyer to Help with Your 3M Combat Arms Earplug Claim

At Gerling Law, our 3M Combat Arms Earplug attorneys can speak to any service member who believes they suffered injuries due to these defective earplugs. We have decades of experience in a wide variety of product liability cases and understand the legal complexities and nuances of this type of litigation. You fought for your country. Now let us fight for your rights. Contact Gerling Law today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Let us put our skills and experience to work for you and help you get the compensation you deserve.

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Experienced Gerling lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no upfront costs. We only get paid if we win for you and you receive money.

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