If you were previously or are currently a U.S. military service member who used standard-issue 3M Combat Arms earplugs and you suffered a hearing-related injury such as hearing loss or tinnitus, you may qualify to participate in a 3M Combat Arms earplugs lawsuit.
Contact TorHoerman Law today to speak with a 3M Combat Arms Earplugs lawyer to determine whether you qualify for legal action now.
You can also use our chat-bot below to receive a free, instant online case evaluation.
In order to qualify to participate in a 3M combat arms earplug lawsuit, you must meet the following requirements.
You must have:
Also, you must NOT have:
In January 2021, a federal judge overseeing multidistrict litigation brought by service members sided with the two plaintiffs on which states’ laws should apply in their upcoming bellwether trials.
The servicemembers and vets were selected for an initial bellwether case pool in the multidistrict litigation, in which they say that 3M Co. supplied earplugs that were defective and didn’t protect against service-related tinnitus and hearing loss.
The average payout for 3M earplug lawsuit settlements differ from case to case and depend heavily on the specifics surrounding each servicemember’s injuries.
Based on 3M Combat Arms earplugs lawsuit settlements that have been disclosed so far, servicemembers who have suffered partial hearing loss have received settlements ranging from $50,000 to $300,000.
At this time, there is not enough public information available to determine the settlement range for more serious permanent hearing loss.
The 3M Earplug litigation is ongoing and lawyers across the country are still accepting cases.
On Friday May 20, 2022, 3M was ordered to pay $77.5 million to a veteran who suffered hearing damage in the final bellwether trial.
3M has won 6 of the 16 bellwether trials to date. All others have resulted in significant monetary compensation to veterans.
Between 2003 and 2013, 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 were the exclusive hearing protection product used in numerous military conflicts by all branches of the United States military, including the:
The 3M Arms Earplugs Version 2 was designed to protect against loud noises and hearing loss from gunfire, explosions, bombings, and vehicles.
Initially manufactured by Aearo Technologies, later acquired by 3M in 2008, the dual-ended combat arms earbuds were found to be defective after years of widespread use and distribution across the military.
Instead of blocking soundwaves, the earbuds were too short for proper insertion in the ear canal, causing them to loosen and not properly protect service members from potentially harmful sounds.
Veterans claim defective earplugs cause serious injuries - injuries as a result of the defective earbuds range from tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears) to partial or total hearing loss.
You may qualify for a 3M Combat Arms Earplugs lawsuit if you are a current or former service member, who served between 2003 and 2015, and suffer from:
In order to qualify to participate in a 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuit, you must meet the following:
If you meet these qualifications, contact a 3M Combat Arms earplugs lawyer from our firm to discuss your situation, free of charge and no obligation required.
In 2003, the government issued an RFP, or government contract proposal, to Aearo Technologies to create an earplug that would be included in standard military gear.
The company falsely certified the Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 was up to the designated standards by confirming they had a certain noise reduction rating (NPR) and would protect military members from damaging sounds.
Proper testing was careless and negligent, yet the company confirmed to the government the earbuds tested at the required 22 NPR rate.
In reality, the noise-canceling side of the 3M earplug tested at an average rate of about -2 NPR, acting as an amplifier.
The flip-side of the earplug, which allows some noise to enter the ear, tested at 10.9 NPR, a vast difference in hearing protection from what was presented in fabricated test results.
During testing, results showed the 3M earplug, in fact, was not as effective as intended, not only because of the lower NPR rate, but also because of a design defect that caused them to loosen in the ear canal as a result of the earbud itself being too short to be properly inserted.
According to a whistleblower lawsuit filed by the Moldex-Metric, Inc. on behalf of the US Department of Justice, 3M and Aearo have known since as early as 2000 that the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs were defective.
After acquiring Aearo, 3M hired Aearo employees, including developers, who were aware of the product defect through pre-market testing in 2000.
Aearo Technologies and its parent company 3M failed to acknowledge or notify the design defects to the United States government and consequently put the health of service members across military branches at risk.
The whistleblower lawsuit was resolved in July 2018 with 3M agreeing to pay a $9.1 million settlement, but it is far from the end for legal action against 3M for their defective earplugs.
The defective earbuds were standard issue to all military personnel during the following military conflicts:
The 3M earplug was designed as an inverted cone shape, meant to be used in two different ways, signified by colors on either side of the plug.
The green side of the 3M earplug allows for some hearing at a slightly muted level, meant to be used in situations like using a radio or listening to a conversation.
The other, yellow end of the earbuds would provide more extensive noise protection, and is meant to be used in situations where hearing protection is crucial, such as when around gunfire, vehicles, explosions, and other loud noises.
A major defect with the 3M earplug was not disclosed to the government.
After providing the 3M earplug to servicemembers for years, the defect brought to light the significant hearing damage the earbuds could have caused to service members who used them.
Rather than being a hearing protector, a lack of proper insertion into the user's ears caused irreparable hearing loss and disabilities.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, veterans who served overseas, specifically during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom between September 2001 and March 2010, were four times more likely to suffer from significant hearing loss than non-veterans.
According to the comprehensive 2017 Annual Benefits Report published by the Veterans Benefits Administration, auditory disabilities were the number two cause of treatment between 2013 and 2017.
In 2017, 3,101,223 men and women were treated for auditory disabilities.
Tinnitus and hearing loss are the top two service-connected disabilities treated by the Veteran's Administration.
Tinnitus accounts for 7.7%, or 1,786,980 and hearing loss accounts for 5.0% or 1,157,585 of all disabilities.
However, the number of affected individuals may be higher because many do not report their injuries or seek treatment.
Proper protection for soldiers is vital when faced with life or death situations while protecting our country.
For companies that do business with the government, all should be providing properly made safety equipment for military members.
It seems that the 3M earplug did not meet these standards despite its extensive use throughout military branches.
Tinnitus is a ringing or buzzing in the years.
While not considered a medical condition, it is an underlying cause of medical issues such as an ear injury or Auditory processing disorder (APD).
For military members who used the 3M Combat Arms Earbuds Version 2, tinnitus could be a result of permanent hearing damage from not being properly protected when around deafening noises while deployed during the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.
If you believe you are suffering from tinnitus, hearing loss, or Auditory processing disorder (APD), contact a medical professional to diagnose your injuries.
Among the other hearing-related injuries associated with the 3M earplug, tinnitus is one of the injuries caused by the 3M earplug defect.
If you developed tinnitus during your time in the service, it could be the fault of 3M's defective product.
You likely qualify to participate in the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs lawsuit.
According to the ADA, hearing loss is considered a disability and individuals that suffer from permanent hearing loss can qualify for disability.
Whether you qualify for disability due to hearing loss depends on a number of factors including, but not limited to, the type of hearing loss, the severity of hearing loss, and whether the hearing loss is permanent.
The ADA offers a comprehensive hearing loss guideline to help determine your rights and whether you qualify as disabled.
TorHoerman Law is proud to help our brave servicemen and women.
Our firm is currently filing a 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuit on behalf of servicemen and women who unfortunately suffered serious ear injuries during military combat as the result of 3M's negligence and greed.
The VA recently reported that more than 2.6 million veterans are currently receiving disability compensation for tinnitus, partial or total hearing loss.
If you are currently serving or previously served in the US military, served at any point in time between 2003 to 2015, and you suffer from tinnitus, partial or total hearing, you may be eligible to participate in a 3M Combat Arms Earplugs lawsuit.
Contact us to talk with an attorney at TorHoerman Law today.
You fought for us, now let us fight for you.
Be sure to follow the steps below in order to give your 3M earplug lawsuit the best chance at achieving justice and compensation.
The first and one of the most important steps in ensuring a strong case is to mitigate your injuries by seeking medical treatment and diagnosis right away.
Be sure to follow your doctor's orders and do everything in your power to reduce the impacts of your injury.
Be sure to begin collecting all military service records and medical records as soon as possible - gathering evidence for your lawsuit is another important step in the process and is key to proving your damages.
Evidence will help to prove that your injuries resulted from 3M earplugs and that you suffered both economic and non-economic losses as a result.
Once you have begun to gather evidence, it is time to begin seeking legal aid.
Hiring a personal injury attorney can greatly increase your chances of a successful 3M Combat Arms Earplugs lawsuit.
You should also familiarize yourself with the steps in the civil litigation process to have a better understanding of your role and your attorney's duties.
Because statutes of limitations bar you from taking legal action after an allotted time, you should not hesitate to seek legal aid.
Once you provide more detail about your case, your attorney will be able to determine what personal injury damages you qualify for - you may choose to file for both compensatory damages and punitive damages.
3M has already agreed to settlements with a number of service members who have suffered hearing loss, tinnitus, and other injuries linked to the 3M Combat Arms earplugs.
There are upwards of 250,000 pending 3M earplug lawsuits in multidistrict litigation.
3M Earplug lawsuit settlements differ from case to case and depend heavily on the specifics surrounding each service member's injuries.
Based on the 3M Combat Arms earplugs lawsuit settlements that have been disclosed so far, service-members who have suffered partial hearing loss have received settlements ranging from $50,000 to $300,000.
As time goes on, more information on settlement amounts will be available. Currently, there is not enough public information available to determine the settlement range for more serious permanent hearing loss.
The veterans were each awarded $15 million in compensatory damages and $40 million in punitive damages.
Plaintiffs and 3M have split bellwether rulings, with plaintiffs winning out on 5 of the last 10 trials over damages relating to 3M earplugs.
As millions used the 3M earplug and hundreds of thousands have filed lawsuits alleging hearing-related injuries, the case against 3M and its subsidiary Aearo Technologies is positioned to become the largest mass tort case ever.
3M has been named in a number of lawsuits across the country over the years, paying out millions of dollars in settlements for environmental contamination, among other issues.
In October 2021, 3M agreed to pay a $98 million settlement for the contamination of the Tennessee River near its Decatur, Alabama facility.
3M's manufacturing and disposal of polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS or forever chemicals, triggered the lawsuits.
3M paid out over $65 million to residents of a New York town who filed a lawsuit over drinking water contaminated with the toxic chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).
3M has been named in a lawsuit which alleges that faulty breathing equipment killed 2 California firefighters.
3M is also named in another lawsuit involving firefighters: hundreds of current and retired firefighters are suing due to the presence of PFAS or forever chemicals found in protective equipment.
Lawsuits against 3M for a faulty medical device were reinstated in August 2021, alleging “3M's Bair Hugger can cause deep-joint infections in orthopedic surgeries."
Coal miners have sued 3M, alleging that faulty or defective masks contributed to their pneumoconiosis, also known as black lung, diagnoses.
3M is a widely recognized manufacturer of everyday consumer products, healthcare materials, safety equipment, and more.
Their annual revenue for 2021 was over $35 billion.
The financial impact this mass tort case against 3M may have on the company’s growth and market share could be troublesome.
According to Bloomberg, 3M’s stock valuation relative to its competitors implies a discount of about $33 billion due to its earplug lawsuits - 3M shares are worth 19% less than they were in July 2018.
After the most recent $110 million settlement, 3M stock prices fell 4% in the days following.
At TorHoerman Law, our team of 3M combat earplugs lawyers is experienced in all types of defective products lawsuits.
A 3M combat earplugs lawyer from TorHoerman Law is available to speak to any service member who believes that he or she has a potential 3M combat earplugs lawsuit, free of charge and no obligation necessary.
Contact TorHoerman Law to talk to a 3M combat earplugs lawyer now.
“3M Can’t Duck Earplug Suit With Gov’t Contract Preemption.” Law360, www.law360.com/classaction/articles/1295529/3m-can-t-duck-earplug-suit-with-gov-t-contract-preemption.
“Annual Benefits Report Veterans Benefits Administration Fiscal Year 2017.” Veterans Benefits Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2017, www.benefits.va.gov/REPORTS/abr/docs/2017_abr.pdf.
Axt, Bill. “3M Company to Pay $9.1 Million Settlement for Selling Defective Earplugs to Military.” The Hearing Shop, 14 Aug. 2018, thehearingshop.com/3m-company-pay-9-1-million-settlement-selling-defective-earplugs-military/.
Carlson, Mr. David. “False Claims Act.” LII / Legal Information Institute, Legal Information Institute, 21 Apr. 2015, www.law.cornell.edu/wex/false_claims_act.
Curley, Mike. “3M Can’t Pin Defective Earplugs On Gov’t, Military Users Say.” Law360, Portfolio Media, Inc., 2 Apr. 2020, www.law360.com/articles/1259819/3m-can-t-pin-defective-earplugs-on-gov-t-military-users-say.
DePass, Dee. “3M Continues to Deal with Lawsuits Regarding Defective Earplugs, PFAS Chemicals.” Star Tribune, Star Tribune, 22 Jan. 2020, http://www.startribune.com/3m-continues-to-deal-with-lawsuits-regarding-defective-earplugs-pfas-chemicals/567166652/.
Marshall, Josh. “Combat Veteran Files Lawsuit for Loss of Hearing Due to Defective Military Ear Plugs.” KHOU, KHOU, 22 Jan. 2019, www.khou.com/article/news/local/combat-veteran-files-lawsuit-for-loss-of-hearing-due-to-defective-military-ear-plugs/285-51892502-058e-4944-8cb3-274fd350d8e7.
Judge In MDL Won’t Send 3M Earplug Claims To Minn. (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2020, from https://www.law360.com/articles/1316158
Plaintiffs Prevail On Choice Of Law For 3M Earplug MDL Trials. (n.d.). Retrieved January 21, 2021, from https://www.law360.com/productliability/articles/1346348/plaintiffs-prevail-on-choice-of-law-for-3m-earplug-mdl-trials?nl_pk=4ea5443d-d995-4317-90cc-b8209e697bbb&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=productliability
Rempfer, Kyle. “Company to Pay $9 Million after Allegedly Selling Defective Combat Earplugs to US Military.” Military Times, Military Times, 26 July 2018, www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2018/07/26/company-to-pay-9-million-after-allegedly-selling-defective-combat-earplugs-to-us-military/.
“Severe Hearing Impairment Among Military Veterans — United States, 2010.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22 July 2011, www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6028a4.htm.
Smith, K. (2021, January 04). Lawsuits over 3M military earplugs reach major milestone. Retrieved January 05, 2021, from https://www.legalexaminer.com/health/lawsuits-over-3m-military-earplugs-reach-major-milestone/
Tiron, Roxana, and Martina Barash. “3M Officials Say Troops Didn’t Need to Know Proper Use of Plugs (1).” Bloomberg Government, 24 Apr. 2020, .
Trial Dates Set For Spring In 3M Earplug MDL. (n.d.). Retrieved January 05, 2021, from https://www.law360.com/articles/1341405/trial-dates-set-for-spring-in-3m-earplug-mdl
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