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The Spencer Law Firm

Achieved Settlement for our 3M Earplug Clients

In 2024 The Spencer Law Firm reached settlement 3M earplugs on behalf of our clients. The case is closed, but you can read about the details below.

3M Combat Arms Earplugs

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From 2003 to 2015, 3M supplied defective earplugs to the U.S. military, risking the hearing of countless service members. If you or a loved one suffered from hearing loss or tinnitus due to these faulty earplugs, contact us for a consultation to explore your legal options.

From 2003 to 2015, 3M was the exclusive provider of earplugs for every branch of the U.S. military. 3M promised that its Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (“CAEv2”) would protect American military personnel from noise exposure to vehicles, jet engines, gunfire, and explosions. However, 3M misrepresented an inflated Noise Reduction Rating (or “NRR”) to the American government to secure a lucrative government contract to sell these earplugs. Additionally, flaws in the CAEv2’s design led to imperceptible loosening of the earplugs which exposed service members to needless endangerment of their hearing.  As a result, 3M risked the hearing of an entire generation of American service members, leaving may with severe tinnitus (buzzing or ringing in the ears), hearing loss, or both.

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3M’s Broken Promises

In 2018, 3M settled a lawsuit brought by another government contractor under the False Claims Act. This lawsuit alleged that 3M and its predecessors, Aearo Technologies and its affiliates, knowingly and intentionally sold faulty, defective earplugs to the U.S. government. The lawsuit also alleged that 3M knew about the CAEv2’s deficiencies since 2000 but withheld the information from the government – even after 3M became the sole provider of earplugs to thousands of service men and women.

Facts uncovered during the lawsuit revealed that 3M overstated its earplugs’ capabilities. The U.S. government required 3M to provide earplugs with an NRR of 22 decibels– but testing has shown that the earplug only reduced sounds by 10.9 decibels, just under half what was promised to the government. As a result, thousands of military service members were vulnerable to noises bypassing the earplug and attacking the eardrum directly and may have suffered hearing loss or impairment that could have been avoided.

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