3M Dual-Ended Selective Attenuation Combat Earplugs (Version 2, CAEv2) are earplugs intended to protect against the sound of close range firearms and other loud combat-related noises. Aearo Technologies, Inc. initially manufactured the earplugs, and then they were acquired by 3M in 2008. 3M and its predecessor, Aearo Technologies, were the exclusive supplier of selective attenuation combat earplugs to the U.S. Military from 2003 through 2015. Approximately 987,000 units were issued to the members of the military deployed to combat zones during that time frame.
Due to defective design of the product, the stem of the earplug was too short, preventing the earplug from going deep enough into the ear canal to provide appropriate protection. The earplugs were also designed to be “one-size fits all,” such that they would loosen in the wearer’s ear. This loosening was imperceptible to the wearer, thereby allowing damaging sound to reach the ear canal. Despite prior knowledge of these design defects, 3M sold the earplugs to the U.S. Military, falsely claiming that the earplugs met the military’s safety standards.
In July of 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that 3M had reached a $9.1 million settlement of a whistleblower False Claims Act lawsuit, which alleged that 3M knowingly supplied the United States military with defective earplugs. The press release issued by the Department of Justice regarding this settlement can be accessed here: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/3m-company-agrees-pay-91-million-resolve-allegations-it-supplied-united-states-defective-dual
Military veterans and service members have reported the following injuries from the defective earplugs:
- Partial hearing loss in one or both ears
- Permanent hearing loss in one or both ears
- Tinnitus (ringing in ears)
Before the settlement of the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs False Claims Act case made headlines around the country, many military veterans and personnel may not have even been aware that the earplugs caused their injuries. Individual lawsuits are now being pursued on behalf of U.S. Veterans and military personnel, seeking compensation for their personal injuries and damages due to hearing loss caused by the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs, Version CAEv2.
Our law firm is currently evaluating claims on behalf of U.S. military personnel who were:
- Deployed to a combat zone while serving in the U.S. Military between 2003 – 2015
- Issued 3M Combat Arms Earplugs, Version CAEv2, upon deployment
- Diagnosed with serious hearing loss after using the defective earplugs
We at Kenneth S. Nugent, P.C. stand with our military service personnel and veterans who have been injured by the defective 3M Combat Arms Earplugs. If you or a loved one meet the above case criteria, please contact us today for a free case consultation. 1-800-CALL-KEN