3M Dual-Ended Earplugs Lawsuits
3M Manufacturing Company recently paid 9.1 million dollars to settle a lawsuit that alleged that they provided defective dual-ended earplugs to the military. If you served in the military between 2003-2015 and suffered hearing loss or tinnitus while using the dual-ended type earplugs in a combat zone, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us today to be put in contact with a defective earplug lawyer and learn more about the pending 3M dual-ended earplug lawsuits. Call (713) 932-0777 for a free consultation.
How to Know if You Used 3M Dual-Ended Earplugs
The 3M dual-ended earplugs in question were used by all branches of the military except the Navy between 2003-2015. They were often provided to soldiers via large bins. The dual-ended earplugs in question are believed to be the only dual-ended earplugs used by the military during that time. They have a green side and a yellow side, each with three pflanges. The yellow side has a tiny hole in it which is intended to allow soldiers to hear orders but block out potentially damaging noise, while the green (or olive green) side is sold and is intended to prevent all noise while in blast zones.
If you used a dual-sided earplug between 2003-2015 that was provided by the military, you may have legal rights for hearing damage suffered during active service.
Do I Have a Claim Against 3M?
The key questions to consider in determining whether you may have the right to file a defective dual-ended ear plug lawsuit against 3M are as follows:
- Were you in the service from 2003-2015?
- Did you use dual-sided (reversable) combat ear plugs?
- Were the ear plugs provided by the military to you?
- Were you in a branch of service other than the Navy?
- Were you in a combat zone or otherwise exposed to IED’s while using the dual-sided earplugs?
- Did you have hearing loss or tinnitus documented in your records upon discharge or return from deployment? (Usually, the diagnosis is “noise-induced hearing loss.”)
If you do not have your records, these can be obtained.
Documents revealed in a lawsuit against 3M suggest that studies were performed which demonstrated that the earplugs were too short to attain the level of protection they claimed. As a result, the protection provided was significantly lower than the earplugs were supposed to provide. Current lawsuit allege that this information was not adequately conveyed to the intended user so that the earplugs could be utilized by way of proper instruction and/or warning. Documents have further suggested that the opposite side may have actually amplified the noise rather than blocked it. Furthermore, rapid removal of the earplug may actually lead to eardrum damage.
Injuries Caused by Defective Earplugs
The injuries that may have been suffered as a result of the use of defective earplugs include the following:
- Noise-induced hearing loss
- Eardrum Perforation or Damage
The 3M Whistleblower Lawsuit
In 2018, 3M paid 9.1 million dollars to settle a whistleblower lawsuit alleging that they had knowledge of these defects and thus, defrauded the government. In conjunction with that settlement, a news release was made that 3M knew the plugs were too short to get deep enough to achieve results claimed and did not tell the military. 3M did not admit liability in conjunction with the settlement and thus, is expected to vigorously defend veteran’s claims for hearing damage.
Proving the 3M Earplugs Caused Hearing Loss and Tennitus
Military personnel typically have their hearing tested on several occasions during service. These occasions include, entrance into the military, before deploying, after returning from being deployed and upon discharge from service. In most cases, the hearing damage can be documented as hearing loss, hearing reduction or tinnitus in the medical records in the serviceman’s file. Thanks to the U.S. military’s documentation, the timing of the hearing loss can often be readily established.
Talk to a Defective Earplug Attorney
If you suspect that you suffered noise-induced hearing loss as a result of the use of 3M dual-sided earplugs while in the military from 2003 to 2015, call Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. today for a free, no obligation consultation. You may be entitled to file a dual-ended earplug lawsuit and to seek compensation for your injures. It is not necessary that you still have the ear plugs. Call (713) 932-0777 today.
Paul Cannon has practiced personal injury trial law since 1995. He is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law (2005). He has earned recognition as a Super Lawyer by Thompson Reuters in 2017 & 2018, and as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association in 2017. He is a Shareholder, trial lawyer and online marketing manager at Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. His legal writings have been published by the Texas Bar Journal, Business.com, Lawyer.com HG Legal Resources, Lawfirms.com, and others. He has been asked to give education talks and media interviews on dog bite law.