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What You Need to Know About the 3M Earplug Lawsuits

Time is limited to file a claim!

Nearly 300,000 military veterans have filed lawsuits against corporate giant 3M due to defective Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) that left service members and veterans with tinnitus and hearing loss.

The litigation began with a 2018 whistleblower lawsuit against 3M revealing allegations that the St. Paul, Minnesota based company 3M and it’s predecessor, Aearo Technologies knowingly sold defective dual-ended Combat Arms earplugs to the United States Military. This case resulted in a $9.1 million settlement with the Department of Justice.

Today, the 3M Combat Arms earplugs litigation is one of the largest mass torts in U.S. history.

Here’s what you need to know.

The lawsuit is against corporate giant 3M – NOT against the military or the government.

The lawsuits accuse 3M of designing a defective product and failing to warn about its potential risks.   3M produced dual-ended Combat Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) and sold them to the U.S. military.    These earplugs were then distributed to service members in combat and training.  According to lawsuits, the stem of the earplugs was too short for soldiers to insert the plug deep enough into the ear canal to obtain a proper fit. This caused the plug to loosen, unbeknownst to the wearer or onlookers. When earplugs loosened, they did not provide proper protection.

As of May 2022, juries have awarded over $222 million to U.S. service members and veterans.

Most recently, a jury in Pensacola, Florida awarded Army veteran and father of three Jonathan Vaughn $2.2 million in damages on April 29th.  The case was tried under Colorado law which places a cap on damages.   On March 27, 2022 a jury in Tallahassee, Florida came back and awarded Army and National Guard veteran Steve Wilkerson $8 million.  The day before on March 26, 2022, yet another jury in Pensacola, Florida awarded $50 million to Army veteran Luke Vilsmeyer.  

You will NOT lose your VA Disability Benefits if you file a lawsuit.

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 against 3M. Please call the Bryant Law Center with any questions about the earplugs lawsuit or to start your free consultation by filling out the form on this page.   We will work with you to file your claim.  Please make sure you can provide the following documentation:

  • DD 214 Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty
  • Veterans Administration (VA) Record
  • Military Active Duty Record

Records are essential to establishing your claim

On May 11, 2022, a federal judge overseeing the multidistrict litigation dismissed a group of over 20,000 3M earplug lawsuits from the MDL class action because the plaintiffs failed to produce certain documents to keep their case active.  Most of the dismissals were due to the lack of official military service records.  

How to know if you used the 3M 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, other military arms, 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)

Attorney David Bryant

David Bryant

David Bryant named by US District Court Judge Casey Rodgers to the Plaintiff Steering Committee of the 3M Combat Arms Earplug MultiDistrict Litigation (MDL)

David Bryant, Of Counsel to the Bryant Law Center of Paducah and Louisville, KY and Partner in the Bryant Law Center Mass Torts Division, was named by US District Court Judge Casey Rodgers to the Plaintiff Steering Committee of the 3M combat arms ear plug MDL in Pensacola, Florida.1