3M Agrees To Pay $5.5 Billion to Settle Lawsuits Over Faulty Combat Earplugs
3M has agreed to pay $5.5 billion to settle lawsuits alleging that the company supplied faulty combat earplugs to the military, resulting in hearing loss and other injuries for thousands of service members.
The settlement, which is still subject to court approval, would resolve a class-action lawsuit filed by veterans who claimed that the earplugs, known as Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2), were defective and did not adequately protect their hearing from loud noises.
The earplugs were used by the U.S. military from 2003 to 2015. According to the lawsuit, the earplugs were prone to breaking and not fitting properly in the ear, which allowed dangerous levels of sound to pass through.
3M has denied any wrongdoing and said that the earplugs are safe and effective when used properly. However, the company has agreed to settle the lawsuit to avoid the cost and uncertainty of a trial.
The settlement is the latest in a series of legal troubles for 3M. In June, the company agreed to pay up to $10.3 billion to fund public water suppliers in the United States that have detected its toxic “forever chemicals” in their water supplies. PFAS, or polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of man-made chemicals that have been linked to a variety of health problems, including cancer, developmental defects, and reproductive problems. 3M has said that it will stop producing PFAS by the end of 2025.
The earplug settlement with the veterans is a significant financial hit for 3M, but it could help the company avoid further legal costs and damage to its reputation. The company’s stock price rose 5% on Monday after news of the settlement was announced.
The settlement is still subject to court approval, but it is expected to be finalized in the coming months.
What Types of Injuries and Harm Did the Defective 3M Combat Earplugs Cause?
The 3M Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2) were earplugs that were sold to the U.S. military from 2003 to 2015. The earplugs were designed to protect military personnel from hearing damage caused by loud noises, such as gunfire and explosions. However, the earplugs were defective and did not adequately protect the hearing of many users.
The main defect in the CAEv2 earplugs was that they were too short. This meant that they did not fully seal the ear canal, which allowed sound to pass through and damage the hearing. The earplugs were also prone to breaking, which could further reduce their effectiveness.
As a result of the defects in the CAEv2 earplugs, many military personnel suffered hearing loss and tinnitus. Hearing loss is the permanent loss of hearing, and tinnitus is a ringing or buzzing in the ears. These injuries can have a significant impact on the lives of those who suffer from them, making it difficult to communicate, work, and enjoy everyday activities.
In addition to hearing loss and tinnitus, the CAEv2 earplugs have also been linked to other injuries, such as:
Barotrauma: This is a condition that can occur when the pressure in the ear changes suddenly. Barotrauma can cause pain, hearing loss, and dizziness.
Labyrinthitis: This is an inflammation of the inner ear that can cause dizziness, hearing loss, and nausea.
Meniere’s disease: This is a chronic condition that causes hearing loss, tinnitus, and vertigo.
The 3M Combat Arms Earplugs lawsuits are still ongoing, and it is not yet clear how much compensation the victims will receive. However, the lawsuits have already raised awareness of the dangers of the defective earplugs and the need for better hearing protection for military personnel.
If you or someone you know used the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs and suffered hearing loss or other injuries, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit. Please contact our national 3M Combat Earplugs Claims Law Firm to learn more about your legal options.
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