Wagstaff & Cartmell founding partner, Thomas P. Cartmell, has officially been appointed to the Executive Committee of the 3M Combat Arms Earplug Products Liability Litigation MDL. Tom will now be a part of a team of attorneys across the country who are representing thousands of veterans and U.S. military members who experienced hearing loss due to using 3M earplugs.
One of the main issues with this Multidistrict Litigation is that there is a lot of misinformation permeating throughout the entirety of the military community, so on this page we’re going to go over everything you need to know about the 3M litigation, and how you or your loved one may likely be able to receive your rightful compensation that potentially goes into the 5-digit mark.
Contact us for a free consultation if you or a loved one used 3M earplugs while in the U.S. military and still ended up with hearing loss or deficiencies, because once we get a thorough understanding of your unique situation we’ll be able to assist you in joining this ever-growing lawsuit.
Why Do These 3M Earplugs Cause User Harm?
3M’s Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs were utilized within the U.S. military from 2003 to 2015 while our troops were actively fighting in conflict zones like Afghanistan and Iraq, and these ear plugs have lead to countless soldiers experiencing partial or full hearing loss, and even tinnitus.
These 3M earplugs were originally designed to block out common combat sounds like loud blasts and noises, while simultaneously allowing soldiers to adequately be able to hear their commanding officer’s orders. But the major issue with this military industrial partnership was that 3M ultimately failed to notify the U.S. government that there were many faulty earplugs, which were the root cause of many military members to partially or completely lose their hearing.
Aearo Technologies, which 3M acquired in 2008, designed these earplugs, which were distributed to the Department of Defense in orders of 15,000, 50-pair packages per year.
This entire multidistrict litigation really picked up steam in 2018 when a 3M whistleblower stepped forward and informed the public and the military community about the uninformed design flaw. The USDOJ investigated the whistleblower’s claims, which then lead to 3M paying $9.1 million to the federal government in order to resolve the allegations against the Minnesota-based multinational conglomerate.
These specific earplugs have since been discontinued, but of course the negligence of supplying these earplugs for years to active military members has put 3M in a place where they may potentially be liable for much more monetary damages into the future via the legal action of individual service members.
How Do These Earplugs Inflict Harm to Users?
The symmetrical nature of these earplugs ends up originating the design flaw that ultimately inflicted harm on countless military members. The fitting instructions for these earplugs clearly demonstrate the possibilities of the earplugs loosening and allowing sound to enter the user’s ears. Of course when these sounds are from a combat or training zone, the lack of durability with the earplug easily leads to damage to the wearer’s hearing.
As a result of consistently wearing these faulty earplugs, countless veterans and military personnel have been experiencing hearing loss or a ringing in their ears.
Which earplugs are associated with hearing problems?
The 3M dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2. Many soldiers and investigators have reported that these earplugs were simply too short to adequately maintain a tight fit within the user’s ears, which allowed sounds to surpass the product’s technology and put wearers at risk of hearing damage.
These earplugs were apart of a massive military industrial contract, and veterans are coming forward saying that 3M misrepresented their devices’ overall effectiveness, and that they didn’t disclose the defects of their products. This blatant negligence exposed countless American military personnel to hearing loss risks!
What misinformation is circulating that pertains to this lawsuit?
The main misinformation that is unfortunately being permeated by influencers and blogs within the military community is that the 3M Combat Arms Earplug Products Liability Litigation is a class-action lawsuit, but this is simply not true.
The most unfortunate misinformation out there about this multidistrict litigation is that it’s class action and that the affected users will only receive around $7! This is blatantly untrue, and those who were affected by these faulty products are eligible to monetary damages that get to tens of thousands of dollars.
What problems have veterans and military members reported?
Because these 3M earplugs were allegedly too short to be effective, it ultimately lead to serious issues for the product’s users over long periods of time. Some of the long-term hearing damage that have been reported by veterans and military members include:
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Permanent hearing loss
- Balance problems
What’s even more negligent within this case is that 3M ultimately lead the U.S. government and its military members to believe they were adequately protected during training and service when they in fact knew they weren’t fully protected.
Who can participate in the 3M Combat Arms Earplug Products Liability MDL?
Although 3M came to a $9.1 million settlement with the U.S. government, that doesn’t count individual service members. In order to participate in the lawsuit, potential plaintiffs will be required to have a valid diagnosis from a medical professional of tinnitus or hearing loss issues around the time of their discharge from the military.
The relevant service time is 2003 to 2015, so anyone who wore 3M’s Combat Arms Earplugs during this time and was eventually diagnosed with partial/total hearing loss is eligible for compensation.
Contact Wagstaff & Cartmell For A Free Consultation
Anyone who is interested in joining this lawsuit should reach out to us for a free consultation.
When we obtain a more thorough understanding of your situation and current hearing issues, we’ll be able to help you better understand your options and begin the necessary steps towards formulating a product liability claim against 3M on your behalf.