If you are a veteran or active military (and even if you are not) you may have heard about the recent whistleblower lawsuit against 3M Company (“3M”) for manufacturing and knowingly selling defective military earplugs to the United States government.
As noted in several of our other blog posts, briefly, what happened is that between the years of 2003 to 2015, defense contractor, 3M sold dual-end earplugs (“3M Combat Arms TM Earplugs”) to the U.S. Government, which issued the earplugs to all active military servicemen and women.
The earplugs were supposed to protect the servicemember’s ear canals from damaging noises from gunfire or explosions during training or active combat. Unfortunately for thousands of U.S. military veterans (and still active military), the earplugs were dangerously defective. They moved imperceptibly in the wearer’s ears, allowing the ear canal to go completely unprotected and causing significant hearing damage to thousands.
Most reprehensible of all, 3M (through its predecessor, Aearo Technologies) was aware as far back as 2000 that the earplugs were dangerously defective. Yet they continued to sell these defective earplugs to the government to be issued to all servicemen and women. In 2106, a whistleblower lawsuit was brought against 3M and 3M was charged with violations of the False Claims Act. 3M refused to accept liability for the earplugs’ defects, but they paid $9.1 million to settle the claims against them. The money went solely to reimburse the government for the public funds it paid to the companies over the years for their defective products. None of the $9.1 million settlement compensates an individual for being damaged by the defective earplugs.
While left on their own to hire counsel to obtain the compensation they deserve for their injuries due to these earplugs, the defective 3M Combat Earplugs are no longer being issued by the government to our servicemen and women.
What Injuries Have Servicemembers Suffered from the Defective 3M Earplugs?
By far the most prevalent injuries servicemen and women who were issued defective 3M Combat Earplugs from 2003 to 2015, have been a permanent hearing loss. This can be a full hearing loss or partial hearing loss. Whether full or partial, any veteran (or those who were issued 3M Combat Earplugs but still serve) has the right to be compensated for his/her injuries.
Another type of damage caused by the defective 3M Combat Earplugs is tinnitus. Tinnitus is an auditory and neurological condition that is characterized by a ringing, buzzing, roaring, or hissing in the ear. This happens even when there is not external hissing or buzzing noise. Tinnitus is also a common symptom associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
Hearing loss that is full, partial, or permanent can affect a person’s entire life. It can have a negative impact on everything from personal relationships to day-to-day living.
Here to Help You.
If you need 3M Combat Earplugs counsel in Louisiana, call us. We serve Baton Rouge, Baker, Denham, Gonzales, Port Allen, Prairieville, New Orleans, and Zachary. We offer free consultations and we do not get paid unless you win your case. Call (225) 465-1232 to schedule your free consultation ToDay.