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Documents Reveal 3M Officials Knew Combat Earplugs Were Defective

A Pensacola federal judge has recently unsealed hundreds of documents, including depositions, emails, and memos, pertaining to 3M’s Combat earplugs litigation. Within these documents, it has been revealed that 3M officials knew that the company’s Combat Arms Earplugs, designed to protect the ears of military members, were defective.

Between 2003 and 2015, 3M supplied a version of the Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv.2) as standard-issue hearing protection to service members in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Despite knowing the earplugs were defective, 3M failed to inform the military putting service members at risk for deteriorated hearing or complete hearing loss.

Defective Design

According to documents, plaintiffs in the case argue that the earplugs were too short to properly fit in the ear canal, causing them to loosen which then led to wearers being exposed to loud noises. They also argue that the earplugs could have achieved a proper fit, had 3M provided the government with revised user fitting instructions. One 3M employee even admitted in an internal memo that “the existing product has problems unless the user instructions are revised.”

3M Claims Immunity as Government Contractor

3M asserts that it is immune from any liability, as it was acting as a government contractor. Not only does the company deny withholding information from the government, but it also argues that the military was well aware of the issues.

In 2018, the company paid out $9.1 million to the Department of Justice, which accused the company of failing to meet its design requirements and defrauding the military. To date, more than 150,000 former U.S. service members have filed claims against 3M and its subsidiary, Aero Technologies claiming a hearing loss, tinnitus, and other injuries. A mass tort case is expected to obtain a trial date in 2021.

The Attorneys at Carter Mario Law Firm Can Help

If you or a loved one has suffered hearing loss or tinnitus as a result of the use of 3M Combat Arms Earplugs, contact Carter Mario for help by submitting a free consultation form online or by calling us at (203) 876-2711.

When you contact our law firm, you’ll speak with one of our experienced Connecticut defective product lawyers for free. Let Carter Mario Law Firm protect your rights and fight to secure full, fair compensation for your losses.

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