The Eichholz Law Firm wants to help those who have suffered from hearing damage or tinnitus caused by the defective design of 3M Company’s military earplugs. We are currently reviewing cases for U.S. troops and veterans who have unfortunately found themselves in this situation.
3M knowingly sold earplugs to the U.S. military that were defective and did not provide full protection for soldiers. Troops deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq and had been issued 3M Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs have to right to bring this manufacturer to court and use the full extent of the law to win compensation for their pain and suffering.
Why Are Lawsuits Being Filed
The 3M earplugs issued to soldiers on the frontlines did not perform as the company said they would. These defective devices had a dual-ended design – one side of the earplugs allowed soldiers to hear speech and the other hand provided increased protection from dangerously high volumes. This design, however, resulted in a short stem that did not go deep enough into the ear to provide adequate protection. Soldiers wearing these earplugs would then be exposed to harmful levels of sounds such as gunfire, explosions, and machinery. Claims of hearing damage and tinnitus have increased significantly due to this design defect.
Hearing damage and tinnitus are the most common health problems associated with veterans and providing troops with these earplugs will only make this issue worse.
The most common health disability for military personnel and the third most common for U.S. citizens is hearing loss1. This condition could be long-term or in some case permanent. It is essential to follow hearing damage prevention techniques such as wearing ear protection. Hundreds of brave U.S. troops were given earplugs for this very reason but were being lied to by the manufacturing company. 3M’s military earplugs could potentially be responsible for hundreds of soldiers and veterans’ hearing damage cases.
Symptoms of Hearing Loss
This condition will worsen as time goes on and it will become increasingly difficult to hear others speak. A person experiencing hearing loss may suddenly become sensitive to normal volume levels and begin to hear ringing in the ears. The ability to hear correctly will gradually fade away.
Characterized by irregular or continuous sounds in the ears such as ringing that varies in volume levels, tinnitus is an extremely prevalent health condition found among veterans2. Due to their exposure to damaging levels of sound, veterans are at high risks of this type of hearing damage. The 3M Dual-Ended Combat Arms earplugs were made to prevent these disabilities but have failed to do so. Veterans who suffer from tinnitus experience life-changing consequences and find it difficult to perform daily tasks.
Tinnitus causes sounds that only the sufferer can hear which include3:
3M Knowingly Sold Defective Products
According to the lawsuit, the 3M Dual-Ended Combat Arms earplugs were manufactured by Aearo Technologies initially. Aearo Technologies was acquired by 3M in 2008 and was alleged to have known about the design defects in the year 2000. There is also a complaint that 3M and Aearo Technologies manipulated test results to pass the minimum requirements of the U.S. Government for products. Fraudulent activities such as this would then be punished by the government who would demand damages be paid by 3M. These monetary damages were paid because of the financial loss that the government will incur due to the purchase of these earplugs and various medical expenses. These medical expenses are associated with the aid given to veterans who suffer from hearing loss or tinnitus caused by the defective earplugs.
3M Company had the responsibility to perform appropriate tests or to redesign the earplugs but failed to do so. As a result, 3M put many military troops at an increased risk of hearing loss and tinnitus. 3M knowingly sold defective products to the U.S. military and left our troops poorly protected.
A competitor of 3M, Modlex-Metric began a whistleblower lawsuit under the False Claims Acts against 3M4. This act allowed Modlex-Metric to sue 3M for fraudulent activity on behalf of the U.S. Government. Moldex-Metric ended up receiving $1.9 million of a $9.1 million settlement.
3M Pays $9.1 Million Settlement To U.S Government
Based on the allegations of knowingly selling defective products to the Defense Logistics Agency, 3M Company has agreed to pay $9.1 million to the U.S. Government5. This was announced by the Department of Justice on July 26, 2018. 3M was accused of failing to warn the military of the potential design defects that don’t provide full protection and may lead to hearing damage. The Department of Justice wanted to make an example of this lawsuit by showing what happens to companies who try to profit from fraudulent activities with the government.
“Government contractors who seek to profit at the expense of our military will face appropriate consequences,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad Readler. “The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the men and women serving in the United States military from defective products and fraudulent conduct.”
Should You File a Lawsuit?
- Are you a U.S. Veteran or are currently enlisted in the U.S. Military?
- Do you suffer from hearing loss or tinnitus?
- Have you been issued 3M Combat Arms Earplugs during your time in the military?
If you have answered yes to the three questions above, then you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. When 3M agreed to pay the $9.1 million, all allegations that they knowingly sold defective earplugs were resolved. To receive compensation for your hearing loss or tinnitus, you should speak with an experienced attorney.
Contact A Professional Veteran Disability Lawyer
Here at the Eichholz Law Firm, we are committed to finding justice for all military personnel affected by this lawsuit. We will use the full power of the law to work towards winning compensation for victims. If you believe your symptoms of tinnitus or hearing loss were caused by the defective design of the 3M Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs, then contact The Eichholz Law Firm today. Our knowledgable team will provide you will a free case evaluation and more information about getting the money owed to you. Let us help you fight back.
- WebMD. “Hearing Loss“, WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/hearing-loss-causes-symptoms-treatment#1. Accessed January 2nd, 2019..
- Military.com. “Tinnitus is Number One Disability For Veterans“, Militray.com, https://www.military.com/benefits/veterans-health-care/tinnitus-is-number-one-disability-for-veterans.html. Accessed January 2nd, 2019..
- Mayo Clinic. “Tinnitus“, Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tinnitus/symptoms-causes/syc-20350156. Accessed January 2nd, 2019..
- WILL MORRIS. “Contractor settles for $9.1 million after providing defective earplugs for servicemembers“, STARS AND STRIPES, https://www.stripes.com/news/contractor-settles-for-9-1-million-after-providing-defective-earplugs-for-servicemembers-1.540137. Accessed January 2nd, 2019..
- Department of Justice. “3M Company Agrees to Pay $9.1 Million to Resolve Allegations That it Supplied the United States With Defective Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs“, Department of Justice, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/3m-company-agrees-pay-91-million-resolve-allegations-it-supplied-united-states-defective-dual. Accessed January 2nd, 2019..