The U.S Defense Logistics Agency outfits armed forces with a variety of hearing equipment to keep their ears safe, and in return, soldiers must trust that their equipment is reliable. Unfortunately, a recent case from the Department of Justice shows that 3m earplugs cause hearing loss – our lawyers saw that the specific model, CAEv2 earplugs which are manufactured by 3M Company are faulty, leaving service members who used 3M earplugs to suffer from hearing loss and even deafness.
Members of the armed forces don’t live easy lives. Answering the call of duty often means going above and beyond, even when it involves the sacrifice of their well-being. And when manufacturers reportedly know about product defects, caring more about profit and market control, our armed forces are left to live with the complications.
3M Company Reportedly Knew About Faulty Combat Arms Earplugs
Based in St. Paul, Minnesota, 3M Company is an American manufacturer that produces a variety of protective wear for commercial and industrial use. 3M Company was the sole provider of hearing equipment for the United States armed forces for over a decade.
3M Company ear plugs cause hearing loss – the company stands accused of selling the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency faulty hearing equipment, especially the dual-sided selective attenuation CAEv2 3M earplugs, which are designed to filter out harmful noise levels for deployed troops.
In the course of an investigation by prosecutors, it was found that 3M Company was aware that the stem of their combat arms earplugs was too short and did not allow the plugs to be pushed into the ear deep enough for maximum effectiveness.
The 3M combat arms earplugs, initially manufactured by Aearo Technologies, were found to have defects dating back to 2000, eight years before they were bought out by 3M Company and three years before the U.S. armed forces began using 3M earplugs as their principle hearing safety equipment. Other faults discovered to be hidden from the government included the fact that during their use, the 3M earplugs would gradually loosen until they failed to be effective at noise filtration.
3M Company’s product safety negligence has contributed to serious hearing complications for members of the armed forces.
The Silent Epidemic: Hearing Loss Caused By Failed 3M Earplugs
When signing up for the armed forces may return home with not only physical and mental fatigue, but hearing loss or even deafness as well. According to the 2016 Annual Benefits Report by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), 1,610,911 cases of tinnitus and 1,084,069 cases of hearing loss are recorded annually by veterans.
This makes tinnitus and hearing loss the two most common disabilities related to military service. In a study by the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), veterans are 30% more likely to develop severe hearing impairment compared to non-veterans, making this a far-reaching problem that MySanAntonio dubbed “The Silent Epidemic.”
The 3M Company’s contributions to this epidemic are hard to ignore, as 3M’s CAEv2 earplugs were distributed to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2003 until 2015 as the exclusive hearing protection of the armed forces. A later CDC study found that veterans who served during that period were four times more likely to develop severe hearing impairment that any period before or since.
Armed with the facts and public veteran outcry, the U.S. Government began prosecution of 3M combat arms earplugs.
Government Lawsuits Against 3M Company
The 3M earplugs lawsuit is known as a Qui Tam case. A Qui Tam case is a legal suit filed by a private corporation, in this case, Moldex Metric Inc., using the false claims act in place of the government so we recommend having a 3m earplugs cause hearing loss lawyer today.
When a Qui Tam case is brought to the attention of the Department of Justice, they may choose to either intervene or assist as they see fit. In this instance, the Department of Justice pursued claims that 3M Company had violated the False Claims Act by selling a product that did not work as it said that it should and therefore made a fraudulent claim of government revenues in the form of military contracts.
The prosecuting corporation, Moldex Metric Inc., is a California-based safety equipment manufacturer that has a history of back-and-forth litigation with 3M Company over their equipment. In a countersuit against 3M Company in 2017, Moldex Metric claimed that 3M Company filed frivolous and baseless claims against Moldex Metric product.
They also claimed 3M Company’s products failed to efficiently protect against noises deemed in the threat range of damaging combatants hearing. These claims would later form the basis of the 2018 settlement between the U.S. and 3M Company of $9.1 million following a protracted legal duel, according to Justice.gov.
For their part in the proceedings, Moldex Metric was awarded $1.9 million in whistleblower fees. According to the Hearing Review, 3M Company made a press release in July following the trial stating that “this resolution is not an admission of liability, but simply a decision to move forward with our mission to provide high-quality personal safety equipment products to our customers.”
Despite this, 3M Company has taken a severe hit to both their wallet and their reputation regarding combat arms earplugs.
Navy Veteran Sues Ear Plug Manufacturer Over Hearing Damage
(08/20/2019) WYOMING – A Wyoming Navy SEABEE (the Navy’s construction battalion) who completed four tours of duty oversees faced danger from explosions, gunfire, and heavy machinery and equipment. Now, according to a K2 Radio report, the Natrona County veteran is filing suit against the company 3M for harm he allegedly suffered not from any enemy combatant but because safety equipment meant to protect his hearing failed to do so.
Alleged Design Flaw Leads to Nationwide Lawsuits
At issue in the suit is an alleged defect in 3M’s Combat Arms ear plugs. The ear plugs have both a yellow and a green end. When the yellow end was inserted in the ear canal, the plugs were said to be able to reduce the impact of loud noises while still allowing the user to hear vocal commands and orders. When the green end was inserted in the ear canal, both softer sounds and loud noises would be reduced. What this veteran’s and other suits allege, however, is that the Combat Arms ear plugs became displaced after being inserted properly enough to where damaging levels of noise could be heard without the user of the ear plugs necessarily knowing that the ear plugs had become displaced.
Other Similar Suits Against 3M are Pending
According to the Department of Justice, last year 3M paid over $9 million to settle allegations that it had knowingly sold its Combat Arms ear plugs to the military without disclosing that the ear plugs were defective. If it is shown that 3M knew or should have known that its Combat Arms ear plugs were defective or did not adequately protect users, 3M may find itself having to pay compensation to service members whose hearing was negatively impacted by the ear plugs’ defect. Numerous lawsuits similar to the Navy veteran’s suit have already been filed. In addition, other lawsuits are being contemplated and will likely be filed as more evidence emerges concerning the hearing difficulties experienced by service members who used 3M’s Combat Arms ear plugs.
Help For Victims of 3M Company’s Failed Combat Arms Earplugs that Cause Hearing Loss
Although the case has been resolved, according to official releases, all claims within the settlement are only allegations, and there has been no formal assignment of liability. Despite this, the facts remain that 3M Company is implicated to be responsible for more than a dozen years worth of hearing loss issues.
Parker Waichman LLP will work with you to achieve a complete picture of your damages and to be sure we are pursuing the fullest extent of potential compensation for you and your family. We recognize that your 3M Earplugs hearing loss injuries have placed a substantial burden on your life, our lawyers will help you hold the manufacturers accountable. Contact one of our compassionate lawyers today to talk about how we can start.
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Parker Waichman LLP is offering free case consultations for potential 3M Earplugs clients. We will investigate your case with absolutely no money down from you and will contract your case on a contingency fee basis. That means our recovery is contingent on yours. If you don’t get paid, neither do we. Contact our firm today to find out more information.
Contact Parker Waichman LLP For Your FREE Case Evaluation
We understand how significantly your life has been affected by your 3M Earplugs that cause hearing loss, and we want to help you hold the Earplugs manufacturer responsible. If you or a loved one were deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan, and have subsequently suffered from tinnitus or severe other hearing loss impairment, contact our firm today for your free consultation by filling out our online form or by calling 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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