Important: If you were in the military between 2003 and 2015 and suffered permanent hearing loss, tinnitus, or hearing damage of any kind and want more information about your options, just fill out the form on this page to get more info, give us a call, or reach out to Christina via the chat to talk about the earplugs lawsuit.
If you haven’t heard yet, military veterans all over the country are filing lawsuits due to hearing loss and tinnitus caused by the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2).
A whistleblower lawsuit in 2018 against 3M revealed allegations that the St. Paul, Minnesota based company 3M and it’s predecessor, Aearo Technologies knowingly sold defective dual-ended Combat Arms earplugs (CAEv2) to the United States Military.
That case was resolved via a $9.1 million settlement. Having the potential to be one of the biggest lawsuits in recent history, social media has exploded with information and misinformation about the case.
Here are three of the most common misconceptions.
1. The $9.1 Million will be Distributed Among the Injured Military Members – FALSE
The $9.1 million settlement that everyone has heard about was a False Claims Act settlement between 3M Company and the United States to resolve allegations that it knowingly sold the dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs to the U.S. Military without disclosing the defects (Source: Justice Department).
The government filed suit against 3M alleging that as a government contractor, 3M sold them defective combat earplugs and that the defect, which reduced the effectiveness of the hearing protection offered, was not disclosed to the military.
This money from that lawsuit will go to the government and the whistleblower and will not be distributed between the servicemen and women who were harmed.
In the current litigation against 3M, veterans and active-duty members who used the 3M earplugs and who were harmed as a result are suing 3M to recover for those injuries.
This lawsuit will not involve dividing up the $9.1 million, but rather each service member affected due to the earplugs has their own individual case against 3M.
At this early stage, it is impossible to estimate exactly how much each service member will receive in the lawsuit, but if you fill out the form on this page we’ll keep you up to date.
2. This is Classified as a Class Action – FALSE
The current litigation is what is known as a multi-district litigation (MDL). Multidistrict litigation happens when individual mass tort cases are combined to speed up the processing and information gathering. Class action lawsuits are different from MDLs in several ways.
The most important difference is that in an MDL each plaintiff (here, the service members) will have their own individual lawsuit against 3M.
In a class action, every plaintiff is involved in a single lawsuit.
As a plaintiff in an MDL case, you have more control over what happens.
MDLs exist and are designed to consolidate hundreds, sometimes thousands, of similar cases in front of one court for efficiency’s sake.
3. If I Win a Settlement in this Case I will Lose my VA Disability Benefits – FALSE
If you are a veteran receiving disability benefits, a personal injury settlement will not affect those benefits. Disability benefits are given based on injury to the veteran and are not based on income or financial need.
Because it is not based on income, this will not stop or decrease your disability benefits, regardless of whether it is a lump sum or structured payout. However, needs-based or income-based benefits could be affected.
Taking all three of the above things into account, it is very important that you speak with an attorney who is knowledgeable of the ins and outs of MDLs and this 3M litigation.
You may only have a limited time to file your claim. Please call the Bryant Law Center with any questions about the earplugs lawsuit you may have or to start your free consultation by filling out the form on this page.
Frequently Asked Questions about the 3M Suit
How Do I Know If I Used the Defective Earplugs?
The defective 3M combat earplugs that caused the hearing damage and tinnitus were issued to U.S. military members from 2003 to 2015 to servicemen and women in both combat zones and during training. If you were around things like gunfire, artillery, explosions, or other loud sounds, you should definitely contact us to see what your options are.
Wars these earplugs were issued in include:
- The Iraq War
- War in Afghanistan
- War in North-West Pakistan (part of War on Terror)
- War in Somalia
- Operation Ocean Shield in the Indian Ocean
- American-led intervention in Libya (2011- part of Libyan Crisis)
- American-led intervention in Iraq (2014 – 2017)
- American-led intervention in Syria (2014 to present)
- Yemeni Civil War (2015 to present)
- American Intervention in Libya (2015 to present)
How Much are Service Members Getting?
Litigation against 3M is still ongoing and a final amount has not been determined yet. The $9.1 million 3M agreed to pay in July 2018 was between 3M and the government, not between 3M and military personnel.
Is this Lawsuit Legit?
Is the 3m lawsuit legit? Yes, it is. Hundreds of cases have already been filed on behalf of veterans in connection to the damage and hearing loss caused by these “defective combat earplugs”.
3M has already settled once with the U.S. government’s Justice Department regarding their CAEv2 earplugs after liability was admitted that the earplugs were a defective product and known to loosen in the ear canals after being inserted, causing them to improperly protect the wearer from loud noises.
Good News for Service Members Affected by the Earplugs: Judge Rules Against 3M Defense
The first victory for military veterans suing 3m for hearing loss and tinnitus has come through during the midst of COVID-19.
A Federal Judge in Florida, Casey Rodgers ruled against the military earplug manufacturer 3M on July 24th, 2020.
3M tried to use the “government contractor defense” to protect itself from the lawsuit.
U.S. District Court Judge M. Casey Rodgers ruled against 3M, however, saying there was not sufficient evidence to “establish the elements of the government contractors defense.”
This case has overcome a hurdle that we believed it would when the court rejected 3M’s attempt to blame our nation’s military for its defective earplugs that have permanently damaged our men and women who served our country.Mark Bryant, President of the Bryant Law Center, Paducah & Louisville
The internal documents produced in discovery proved that 3M was aware of the defect and failed to inform the military. We at the Bryant Law Center are proud to represent so many of our service members in this lawsuit.