3M Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs MDL Request in Minnesota

In Minnesota, the first 3M Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs MDL has been requested to form. This case represents a military veteran suing 3M Company for manufacturing and selling defective earplugs. These earplugs caused his hearing loss.  The hope is this MDL will combine similar lawsuits filed in federal courts nationwide.

About 3M Defective Earplugs

Over the years between 2003 and 2015 3M and Aearo Technologies supplied a maximum of 2.2 million earplugs to the US military, to use in war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, as an exclusive supplier for the US military for earplugs. The product is only sold to the military.

3M designed the defective CAEv2 earplugs for armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan to protect from hearing loss from 2003 to 2015. Marketing told soldiers that they could flip the devices for more protection around gunfire or explosions. These dual-ended earplugs could offer multiple safety options to protect them. When worn in the “closed” or “blocked” mode, the plugs blocked sound in the fashion of conventional earplugs.   When flipped to the yellow end, which is the “open” or “unblocked” position, the ear protection greatly reduces intense impulse sounds on the battlefield. Plus, the open mode would not obstruct quieter noises like approaching combatants or communication from comrades.  3M insisted that these earplugs were the answer to protecting hearing while still being able to perform necessary duties on the battlefield.

New 3M Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs MDL

The January 25 motion filed with the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation requests that the eight cases currently pending in four judicial districts be transferred to the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. Other cases exist in federal courts in California, Texas, Oklahoma and Minnesota. If the court grants the motion, plaintiffs will send all future injury claims from the earplugs to Minnesota. This is because Minnesota is where 3M is principally located.

The plaintiff suffers from hearing loss and tinnitus from using these earplugs while serving in the military. The device failed to protect him and other soldiers from damaging noises during training and combat exercises. 3M insisted the product would fit snugly in the ear canal. However, if following 3M’s standard fitting instructions, the edge of the third flange of the non-inserted end of the earplug presses against the wearer’s ear canal and folds back to its original shape, thereby loosening the seal in their ear canals and providing inadequate protection. Due to the symmetrical design, the standard fitting instructions will result in a loosening of the seal no matter which side a soldier uses.

3M Knew the Dangers

The case also outlines that 3M’s predecessor Aearo Technologies knew the earplugs were defective before selling to the U.S. government. In fact, the company falsified test results in order to qualify for multi-million dollar contracts with the U.S. military. Originally created by Aearo, the military issued the earplugs to soldiers in branches of the military between 2003 and 2015. 3M acquired Aearo in 2008. Then, the company continued to sell the earplugs. 3M did not warn the military or soldiers of the defect or any warnings of the device’s potential dangers.

Earlier this year, 3M paid more than $9 million to resolve government claims. The claims stem from the company knowingly selling the dual-ended Combat Arms earplugs to the U.S. military without disclosing defects.  These defects caused ineffective hearing protection to potentially thousands of servicemen and women.

Get Justice

The Michael Brady Lynch Firm complex litigation attorneys have more than two decades of experience protecting the rights of the injured. We have helped thousands across the country following an unexpected accident, defective product or personal injury claims. After being injured from negligence or malpractice, we will help you recover any compensation owed. This will help pay for medical expenses and other bills incurred from your injury. Therefore if you or a loved one experienced partial or total hearing loss, buzzing in the ears or tinnitus after military service, call us today. Our consultations are completely free. Let’s fight for justice together.

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