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What They Knew

Aearo Technologies originally manufactured the Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs and then was sold to 3M in 2008. As stated in the name, the product was intended for use in combat and was specifically intended to protect United States Air Force (“USAF”) service men and women from damaging and disabling noise during combat and other military missions. It had a dual purpose with each end of the plug providing a different kind of protection; one to be used to hear speech and the other side to completely block out sound.

In a lawsuit brought against 3M by the U.S. military, it was stated that the earplugs were too short to be properly inserted into the soldiers’ ears and that the device could come loose without the soldier realizing it. When the military first issued solicitations, they explained the minimum requirements the earplugs had to meet, including that the earplugs be “suitable for use as hearing protectors for military personnel in chronically noisy environments.” However, the Combat Arms Earplugs 3M supplied did not meet these requirements and 3M knew this at the time it sold the earplugs. Aearo Technologies and 3M were accused of knowing about the design flaw but not disclosing this information to the military. In July 2018, the Department of Justice announced that 3M agreed to pay the U.S. military $9.1 million.

When They Knew It

According to the lawsuit, it is suspected that Aero Technologies knew about the problematic design as early as 2000 and that 3M was made aware of the problem but failed to notify the U.S. military.  The Environmental Protection Agency requires manufacturers like 3M to test and label the Noise Reduction Rating of hearing protection devices like the Combat Arms Earplugs. 3M did not commission an independent lab to conduct the testing as required by federal law and military solicitations but instead conducted the testing in-house. 8 out of 10 of the earplugs didn’t pass the tests and were deemed “defective”. An investigation revealed that that the Combat Arms Earplugs were too short and that the flanges on one side of the earplug interfered with the proper fit of the opposite side to offer proper sound protection. If the flanges were folded back a certain way, researchers found that the earplugs would become more secure. However, soldiers weren’t warned that this product was defective nor were they told how to properly use them for maximum sound blockage.

Equally concerning is that 3M was the exclusive supplier of this type of product for the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency which may have been used in the following military events between 2003 – 2015:

  • The Iraq War
  • War in Afghanistan
  • War in North-West Pakistan
  • War in Somalia
  • Operation Ocean Shield in the Indian Ocean
  • American-led intervention in Libya, Iraq, and Syria
  • Yemeni Civil War


What Can You Do?

If you served in the military during 2003 – 2016, used CAEv2 earplugs, and are now experiencing permanent or semi-permanent hearing loss or tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears), you may be able to file a claim. Dangerous sound levels are involved with training and in combat, and the makers of these poorly designed earplugs allegedly withheld this important information from the government. 3M needs to be held accountable for deliberately and needlessly putting our servicemen and women at risk. Contact Periscope Group today at (800) 511-3838.

 

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3M Combat Earplugs Warnings In The News

8/27/18: Tinnitus Anyone? 3M Covered Up Its Defective Military Earplugs Since 2000

In a settlement worth a paltry $9.1 million, 3M agreed to pay the government after being caught covering up its defective earplugs called dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2).

The company sold its earplugs to the US military without disclosing problems with its effectiveness. Basically, the earplugs would come loose in the ear canal and not perform as well. Those curious about the lawsuit should look up United States ex rel. Moldex-Metric v. 3M Company, case number 3:16-cv-1533-MBS (DSC). (Note: I grabbed a photo of the earplug type from the 3M website, but the photo above may not be exactly the same earplug variant.)

Read Full Article

7/30/18: Contractor settles for $9.1 million after providing defective earplugs for servicemembers

A contractor has agreed to pay $9.1 million to the U.S. government for selling defective earplugs issued to thousands of servicemembers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan from 2003 to 2015.

Known as “selective attenuation earplugs,” 3M’s Combat Arms earplugs would “loosen in the wearers ear, imperceptibly to the wearer and even trained audiologists visually observing a wearer, thereby permitting damaging sounds to enter the ear canal by traveling around outside of the earplug,” according to the whistleblower lawsuit complaint, which was settled Thursday.

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7/27/18: 3M settles defective combat earplug case for $9.1 million

Without admitting liability, 3M Co. has agreed to pay $9.1 million to settle allegations that it supplied the U.S. military with defective earplugs, Department of Justice officials announced late Thursday.

The settlement, which involves the second version of 3M’s “dual-ended combat arms earplugs” (CAEv2), resolves a whistleblower’s allegations that 3M violated the federal False Claims Act by selling defective earplugs to the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency, Justice officials said in a statement.

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7/26/18: 3M Company Agrees to Pay $9.1 Million For Defective Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs

The Department of Justice announced today that 3M Company (3M), headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, has agreed to pay $9.1 million to resolve allegations that it knowingly sold the dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2) to the United States military without disclosing defects that hampered the effectiveness of the hearing protection device.

“The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the men and women serving in the United States military from defective products and fraudulent conduct,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Department’s Civil Division. “Government contractors who seek to profit at the expense of our military will face appropriate consequences.”

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GET YOUR FREE 3M COMBAT EARPLUG CASE REVIEW TODAY

3M Combat Earplug cases are now being reviewed, but there is a limited window to pursue help. If you think you, a friend, or a family member may qualify, get your free case review today… before it’s too late!

  • * Submit now to learn if you may be eligible for a cash settlement or call (800) 511-3838 now.

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Periscope Group is not owned by or operated on behalf of any attorney or law firm. We are not affiliated with any drug or medical device companies. We do not host advertisements nor do we accept advertising requests. We are here to help YOU, the consumer, become better educated and supported. You pay absolutely nothing for our help. It’s as simple as that.

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