Defective Military Earplugs Lawsuit For Service Members
A federal jury in Florida found in April that 3M should pay $7.1 million to military veterans who allegedly developed hearing loss from defective earplugs. The damages include punitive damages meant to punish 3M for failing to provide adequate warnings and safety instructions with the earplugs.
Earplugs are meant to block out noise and to protect the ears, which can be damaged by excessive sound at high volume. When earplugs are defective, they do not work as well as intended and can cause tinnitus and/or hearing loss.
This was the case for earplugs that were issued to soldiers in the military. The manufacturer, 3M Company, was aware that their earplugs were too short for proper insertion.
This defect caused the earplugs to loosen in the ear canal, and fail to effectively cancel out noise. This defect hampered the effectiveness of the earplugs and put many service members at risk for developing tinnitus and/or hearing loss.
Nadrich & Cohen is currently filing lawsuits against 3M on behalf of U.S. service members who served between 2003 and 2015 and have since been diagnosed with tinnitus or hearing loss. Contact us now for a free and confidential consultation. Find out if you have a case by calling 1-800-718-4658, using the live chat feature or completing the contact form on this page.
Which Combat Ear Plugs Were Defective?
Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) featured a patented dual-end design with a yellow end and a black end. When the yellow end was inserted in the ear, the user could hear low-level sounds.
When the user flipped the earplugs around and used the black end, they would receive increased hearing protection from combat zone noise, including gunshots and explosions. The triple-flanged design was created to fit most ear canals. They defective plugs were not battery-operated and came without cords.
Who Is Being Sued?
3M, the earplug manufacturer, is the defendant in the defective earplug lawsuits being filed on behalf of U.S. service members. 3M allegedly did not disclose the defect when the contract with the U.S. government was finalized. This allegation was brought under the False Claims Act. It was believed that 3M violated this act by knowingly selling defective earplugs to the Defense Logistics Agency.
3M even set up fraud testing to comply with the military standard. The Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) have since been discontinued, but were standard issue for soldiers who were deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq from 2003-2015.
The Wall Street Journal reported that “some analysts have estimated the cost of settling the earplug litigation at $10 billion to $15 billion.”
How Many Veterans Used The Defective Earplugs?
Between 2003 and 2015, 3M and its predecessor, Aearo Technologies, Inc., supplied as many as 2.2 million earplugs to the U.S. military. During that time period, 20% of active military, or approximately 1,562,190 soldiers were deployed to war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq. Given this information, more than 1 million soldiers could have used this product and not had their hearing adequately protected.
Rise In Reports Of Hearing Loss Among U.S. Veterans
Between 2006 and 2012, cases of hearing loss and tinnitus among veterans skyrocketed. In 2000, there were 69,813 cases of hearing loss and 162,409 cases of tinnitus reported by the Department of Veterans Affairs. By 2006, the number of tinnitus cases more than doubled, to 395,324. Hearing loss cases increased six-fold, to 444,583.
Until 2013, these numbers continued to grow. By 2009, there were 639,029 tinnitus cases and 570,996 hearing loss cases. These numbers peaked in 2012, when there were 971,990 tinnitus cases and 774,384 hearing loss cases. The numbers then dropped dramatically after that. As of 2016, there were 149,429 tinnitus cases and 77,622 hearing loss cases.
How Do I Make A Claim?
If you used the Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) and have now been diagnosed with tinnitus or hearing loss, contact the defective product attorneys at Nadrich & Cohen now for a free and confidential consultation. We collect no fees for our services unless or until a recovery is made.
3M should be held accountable for supplying defective ear plugs to America’s heroes serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. If you served as a U.S. soldier between 2003 and 2015, were issued earplugs during military service and now suffer tinnitus and/or hearing loss, you may be entitled to compensation.
Contact the defective product legal team at Nadrich & Cohen Accident Injury Lawyers today for a free and confidential consultation by calling 1-800-718-4658. We represent service members throughout the country. Don’t wait as there are strict time limitations in which to make a claim. Call us now.