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A history of the 3M military earplug controversy

On Behalf of | Sep 29, 2021 | 3M Earplug Litigation |

Members of the military in Texas and throughout the country may have cause to file lawsuits. There has been a huge controversy over 3M’s military earplugs, which were meant to protect the hearing of those serving in the military. Instead, the devices were defective and led to hearing loss and tinnitus, leading to lawsuits.

What happened with the 3M earplugs?

3M earplugs were meant to protect the hearing of members of the military. Hearing protection is necessary when service members enter combat or are on bases where they were exposed to very loud noises from explosions and gunfire. Unfortunately, the devices turned out to be defective.

The controversy started due to the company being aware of the problem. Instead of pulling the earplugs or issuing a warning, it allowed members of the military to suffer from hearing problems, like hearing loss and tinnitus. Class action personal injury lawsuits and product liability lawsuits were filed, leading to multidistrict litigation.

How did this problem happen?

3M was aware of the flaw in the design of its military earplugs. The earplugs first went on the market in 2003. Aearo Technologies, LLC, a company that creates technology for noise control, among other things, designed the devices. While 3M didn’t design them, it knew about the design issue and bought Aearo, becoming the parent company in charge of the earplugs.

Whistleblower lawsuit and multidistrict litigation

Multidistrict litigation started after a whistleblower lawsuit was brought forth in 2016. 3M was the subject of the lawsuit through the False Claims Act by a competitor, Moldex-Metric. Moldex affirmed that Aearo knew back in 2000 that the earplugs were defective and that it informed 3M about the problem. The claim is that 3M violated the False Claims Act in selling hearing protection devices that it knew were defective.

While the whistleblower lawsuit didn’t compensate injured service members, multidistrict litigation ensued that could provide them with the damages they were due.

If you were injured as a result of using defective earplugs in the military, you need to fight back. You can file a personal injury claim to recover compensation.