Recently, armed services veterans have begun to file lawsuits against 3M for defective combat earplugs that have caused them hearing loss and tinnitus. As of October 2019, there were nearly 2,300 lawsuits that are part of a multi-district litigation in the Northern District of Florida. The lawsuits have been filed this year so, as a result, this case is still in its early phases, and there is plenty of time for you to file a lawsuit if you have been affected. Those who have used these combat earplugs and have suffered some sort of hearing injury may be entitled to financial compensation. What are Combat Arms Earplugs?
Those who have been deployed on behalf of the United States military around the globe as well as on the home front were given earplugs to protect them from loud noises of combat and other military machines. These earplugs were inserted into the ear canal to block out noise that could potentially damage the service member’s hearing.
What is the Basis for Case Against 3M?
The earplugs were originally sold to the government by a company named Aearo Technologies, Inc. that 3M purchased. 3M continued to supply the earplugs to the government after the purchase and it would be liable for both its actions as well as those of the company that it purchased. Service members cannot sue the government and must file their action against the company that made the earplugs, which in this case is 3M.
How are 3M Earplugs Allegedly Defective?
In order to fit properly into the ear canal, the combat earplugs must be a certain length. However, the 3M combat earplugs were allegedly too short, causing the earplugs to shift out of position in the ear canal. When the earplugs moved out of place, they failed to provide adequate hearing protection.
Do I Qualify for the Lawsuit?
These earplugs were used in military service from dates between 2003 and 2015. Anyone in the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines who were issued these combat earplugs and suffered any type of hearing loss or tinnitus may have a cause of action against 3M so long as it is within the statute of limitations.
Can I File a Lawsuit if I am Still Enlisted?
Yes. Service members generally cannot sue the government, but this lawsuit is against a supplier of the government as opposed to the government itself so those currently in the service are able to file a lawsuit for defective 3M combat earplugs.
Is There a Class Action Lawsuit?
No. In order to be certified as a class action lawsuit, certain requirements for common facts and issues must be met and there has been no certification thus far in this case. These lawsuits are all individual cases that are a part of multi-district litigation.
Can I Pursue a Lawsuit if I am Receiving Disability?
Yes. Disability and product liability lawsuit compensation are two different things and the fact that you may be receiving disability for 3M combat earplugs hearing-related issues will not impact your ability to recover from the manufacturer for the damages that the earplugs caused you.
What Type of Compensation can I Receive by Filing a Lawsuit Against 3M?
Lawsuit compensation will typically, among other things, include compensatory damages such as pain and suffering, medical bills, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish and lost wages. Compensation may also include assistive technologies for hearing loss, such as hearing aids and medication.
Has there been any settlement or award in 3M earplug lawsuits? No. These cases have just been recently filed and are at the early stages of litigation. There has not been any settlements of current 3M earplug lawsuits.
Where Does This Case Currently Stand?
The case has been granted multi-district litigation (MDL) status in the Northern District of Florida. The case has not yet begun discovery and the parties are filing motions related to discovery in court. This means that the case is still several years away from trial.
3M Settled With The Federal Government. Can I Receive Money From That?
No. 3M agreed to settle False Claims Act allegations that were made by the government. The money that the company paid was to compensate taxpayers and went to the United States Treasury as opposed to individual plaintiffs.
Have More Questions About a Potential Case Against 3M? Contact Us Today
The attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can help you if you have been issued 3M combat earplugs and have suffered any hearing loss or tinnitus. We have a team of attorneys who are dedicated to this legal issue. Call us for a free initial consultation and we can discuss the legal process with you as well as the facts of your case. You owe us nothing unless we are able to help you recover for your injuries.
This page was updated November 13, 2019