Thousands of veterans who served in the U.S. armed forces have filed lawsuits against 3M Company over claims that the manufacturer’s faulty earplugs failed to function as intended, and caused them hearing loss and other injuries and losses.
Many of those veterans are residents of Texas, and local news outlets have reported a substantial influx in lawsuits filed against 3M in the past several weeks. That includes hundreds of recent filings in U.S. District Courts in Austin and Waco, as well as numerous others filed federal courts across the country.
Given the size of the pending litigation, and because legal experts expect thousands of other veterans and service members to file suit over the 3M Combat earplugs, the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) has set a hearing for March 28th in the nation’s capital to determine the claims should be consolidated into one federal district.
Several groups have requested the lawsuits be consolidated and placed before a single judge in federal courts in Minnesota, California, and other districts. Doing so would help streamline pre-trial and discovery proceedings, especially as estimates suggest the case may eventually include tens of thousands of plaintiffs.
3M Earplug Lawsuits: How the Case Began
Lawsuits being filed by veterans target 3M’s dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2), which were manufactured and supplied to the U.S. military by Aearo Technologies, Inc., a company acquired by the Minnesota-based manufacturer 3M in 2008.
Though vets have described how the earplugs caused various hearing problems, the influx in filings began to mount after 3M reached a high-profile settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice to resolve allegations that it knowingly supplied the U.S. military with defective earplugs. Specifically, DOJ officials alleged 3M Combat earplugs:
- Were too shoot to be fully inserted into a user’s ear canal;
- Were susceptible to becoming lose without a user’s knowledge; and
- Had critical defects 3M knew about, but failed to disclose.
That federal suit was brought under the False Claims Act after a whistleblower stepped forward to report fraud against the federal government. The case was settled for $9.1 million.
Hearing Loss & Other Injuries Suffered by Veterans
Because 3M’s $9.1 million payment resolved only its case with the federal government, veterans and service members who suffered harm as a result of using the faulty 3M CAEv2 earplugs are turning to the civil justice system to hold the company financially liable for their injuries and damages. Though the case of every individual plaintiff is different, vets filing suit commonly claim 3M Combat earplugs caused:
- Permanent hearing loss;
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears); and
- Other physical, emotional, and financial damages.
These injuries are quite concerning, as noise-induced hearing loss can impose permanent and profound repercussions on the lives of victims and their loved ones. From the need for surgery, medical implants, and assistive devices and hearing aids to immense difficulties handling everyday tasks, communicating with others, and maintaining relationships with friends and family, hearing loss and other hearing-related problems can have a far-reaching impact. That includes an impact on victims’ physical health, ability to work and earn meaningful income, and their emotional and psychological well-being.
For veterans and families struggling with the effects of noise-induced hearing disabilities, holding 3M accountable becomes critical to securing the sense of justice they deserve – and the financial compensation they need. While damages vary, victims can seek compensation for their past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, mental anguish and lost quality of life, lost income and reducing earning potential, and more.
Do You Have a Case?
As a law firm with a proven record in complex claims involving defective products and asbestos exposure – which comprise the largest and longest-lasting MDL in U.S. history – Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC is available to help veterans and families throughout Texas and states across the country understand their rights as victims, whether they may have a potential claim against 3M, and what our firm can do to help them through the legal process.
Our nationally recognized trial attorneys are actively reviewing 3M military earplug cases from veterans, service members, and their families nationwide. You may have a potential claim if you:
- Served in the U.S. military between 2003 and 2015;
- Used the 3M CAEv2 earplugs during active-duty combat or military training;
- Suffering hearing loss, tinnitus, and other related injuries and losses as a result.
If you believe you might have a potential case, we encourage you to get in contact with our caring and compassionate team. These lawsuits are moving forward, and acting as soon as possible is in your best interests. Based in Texas, Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC accepts cases throughout the U.S., offers FREE, no-risk, confidential case evaluations, and handles personal injury cases on contingency fees – meaning there’s no charge up-front, and no fee unless we win.
Call (888) 367-7160 or contact us online to request a FREE consultation.