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3M Combat Earplug Lawsuit

military-issued 3m combat earplugsThe 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 were specifically manufactured and sold to the U.S. military for more than a decade until 2015. These dual-ended earplugs were designed to protect the hearing of military personnel serving in active-duty and off-duty missions. However, many veterans who used these earplugs have suffered hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing of the ears) and other serious hearing damage.

Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak is ready to advocate on your behalf. You may be eligible to seek compensation for medical expenses and other related damages. Our firm has a proven track record, recovering millions in compensation for our clients. Founding partner Daniel Pfeifer is Vice President of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA) Board of Governors and an American Bar Association member.

The initial consultation is completely free and confidential. There are no risks or obligations. We also do not charge any upfront fees to retain our services and no fees while we take or work on a case.

We are here to help. Call (844) 678-1800.

How Do I Know If I Have a Case?

We recommend that you speak with an experienced lawyer about your situation to determine your eligibility for compensation. We offer a free case review where you can learn more about your potential legal options. You may have a case if you used 3M combat earplugs and meet the following criteria:

  • Served in the U.S. military between 2003 and 2015
  • Have been diagnosed with hearing loss, tinnitus or both
  • Do not suffer from any preexisting hearing damage
  • Received your diagnosis within one year of being discharged or during active service

Additionally, our legal team will need to learn more about your specific diagnosis and the extent of your hearing damage. Some questions we may ask that you should be prepared to answer include:

  • Is your hearing loss in one or both ears?
  • Do you have tinnitus in one or both ears?
  • What medical treatments have you received?
  • Have any treatments improved your hearing?
  • Is your hearing loss diagnosed as temporary or permanent?

There are strict deadlines to file a case, so it is in your best interest to seek legal representation sooner rather than later. There is no cost to talk to a lawyer today. We are accessible 24/7 to take your call. 

Free Case Review. (844) 678-1800

Compensation That May Be Available  

Every case is different. The compensation available to you will depend on several different factors, including your diagnosis and its impact on your daily life as well as your prognosis for recovering.

Generally, if you have a valid case, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for:

  • Medical treatment costs
  • Fees for doctor visits
  • Surgical procedures
  • Hearing aids and other assistive devices
  • Rehabilitation therapy
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced future earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish
  • Diminished quality of life

Our defective product lawyers are prepared to fight for maximum compensation.   

Background on 3M Combat Earplugs

The 3M combat earplugs were initially developed by Aearo Technologies. In 2003, the documented success of these earplugs led to an exclusive contract with the U.S. government. After 3M acquired Aearo Technologies in 2008, that the contract was transferred to 3M. The 3M combat earplugs became standard issue equipment for all branches of the military.

The dual-ended earplugs offered two levels of protection. When the olive-colored end of the device is inserted into the ear canal, it would block out explosions and loud noises from aircraft, artillery and guns. When the yellow end is inserted, the earplugs significantly reduced dangerous noise levels while still allowing service members to hear quieter noises nearby.

This was especially important during active-duty and off-duty missions when soldiers needed to hear commands, relay instructions or simply communicate freely with one another.

Major Flaws in the Design

The earplugs became problematic for the military because they did not fit well inside of a helmet. 3M then modified the design to enable a better fit by making the stem of the earplug shorter.

However, this solution created a greater problem. The stems of the earplug no longer went deep enough into the ear canal to make an airtight seal. This is a must for proper hearing protection.

The poorly designed earplugs were no longer effective at blocking out loud noises, and since they did not fit properly, the earplugs often became loose and fell out. Many veterans continued to use these earplugs without knowing they were defective.

Was 3M Aware the Earplugs Were Defective?   

There is strong evidence to suggest that 3M knew or should have known the earplugs were defective, despite the company repeatedly denying any wrongdoing.

In 2016, 3M and Aearo Technologies were sued by Moldex-Metric Inc. in a federal whistleblower lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that both companies defrauded the government by manufacturing and selling earplugs they knew were defective. In turn, thousands of military veterans have since sustained hearing loss, tinnitus, or other severe hearing damage.

3M eventually settled the case for $9.1 million. Although they did not admit liability, the lawsuit did reveal some interesting findings. Primarily that the company likely knew about the defects, yet they failed to disclose the known issues. 3M also falsified test results, deceiving the government into believing the earplugs complied with mandatory safety requirements.

3M Combat Earplugs Lawsuits Filed

The first of three bellwether trials for the 3M earplug multidistrict litigation (MDL) are underway in Florida. The outcome of these trials will determine what happens in this litigation moving forward.

There are 229,111 pending cases as of April 15, 2021, making it one of the biggest MDLs in U.S. history. If the plaintiffs are successful, it could help strengthen the potential settlements of future similar cases. 

If you have a valid case, it is still possible for you to join this MDL – even though the first bellwether trial has started. This is something that our lawyers are prepared to discuss with you in a free consultation. There is only so much time to file, which is why it is important to speak with a lawyer as soon as you can.

Contact Our Firm for a Free Case Review

If you are a military veteran who sustained hearing loss and/or tinnitus after using 3M combat earplugs, Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak is here to help. You may be eligible to pursue compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and your pain and suffering. We are committed to helping injured victims obtain the justice and compensation they need. Our firm has recovered over $150 million for our clients.

Contact us to discuss your potential legal options. An initial case review with a member of our legal team is confidential and 100 percent free. There is no obligation to take legal action after this meeting.

We do not charge any upfront fees to hire our firm and retain our services. There are also no fees while we investigate and work on a case. Our representatives are standing by and ready to take your call.

Find out if you have a case. Ph: (844) 678-1800