Huber Thomas Law Firm is proud to represent hundreds of veterans and active-duty service members amid the 3M earplugs litigation. 3M is accused of providing defective earplugs to our men and women in uniform for more than a decade. These claims arise from the fact that 3M earplugs were the sole hearing protection devices provided to the U.S. military between 2003 and 2015. The ongoing lawsuits allege the earplugs were too short for proper insertion, putting users at risk for permanent hearing loss, hearing impairment, and tinnitus. Do you believe you may be entitled to compensation in this litigation? Read on for more information about this case and how we can help.
What Was Wrong With 3M Earplugs?
3M’s goal was to create an earplug that filtered harmful levels of sound, such as gunfire and explosives, while still allowing you to hear other people speak. The now-discontinued dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs were standard-issued equipment for Afghanistan and Iraq soldiers, as well as other service members, serving between 2003 and 2015.
Unfortunately, service members complained of hearing issues and tinnitus after using the earplugs. Testing eventually revealed that the earplugs were too short, allowing harmful sound to get through. This prompted the U.S. military to terminate the contract with 3M in 2015, citing numerous complaints about the effectiveness of these earplugs.
In 2016, a whistleblower lawsuit was filed against 3M alleging the company knew the earplugs were defective all along. According to reports, the company was aware the earplugs would not pass military standards, so they instructed testers to manipulate the product in order to earn a higher score. By 2018, the Department of Justice announced that 3M had 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 devices.
From there, personal injury lawsuits continued to pour in from veterans alleging hearing loss due to the defective earplugs. Hundreds of them were consolidated into a class action MDL (Multidistrict litigation) in Florida, while others were selected as “bellwether cases.” A bellwether case is defined as an indicator of future trends when a large number of lawsuits are filed against the same entity. These trials were scheduled for 2021, which brings us to the present-day 3M earplug litigation.
As the company continues to fight the allegations brought forward, many people are interested in hearing the company’s claims. In short, it appears 3M continues to attempt to hide behind the military and previous legislation using Feres doctrine. This legislation prevents service members who are injured while on active duty from successfully suing the federal government.
Further, 3M has tried to argue the earplugs in question were developed in consultation with the military. This defense has been rejected because the military never requested a formal design proposal. The earplugs were in existence before they were chosen by military officials for issuing.
Updates on the 3M Earplugs Lawsuit
The cases scheduled for 2021 resulted in several victories for plaintiffs, yet a jury did rule in favor of 3M in one case.
Here is a look at the most recent updates:
- April 2021 – The first bellwether case against 3M begins, resulting in $7.1 million for three plaintiffs
- May 2021 – A second bellwether case results in a 3M victory with a jury ruling in favor of the defense, giving nothing to the plaintiff
- June 2021 – $1.7 million in damages is awarded by a federal jury to another plaintiff
- October 2021 – Another plaintiff victory results in $8.2 million for a U.S. Army veteran
- November 2021 – A jury awards an even bigger payout of $13 million to a U.S. Army Sergeant
- December 2021 – In the largest amount awarded to date, a federal jury rules against 3M, giving $22.5 million to an Army veteran
Come 2022, there will be several more bellwether cases going before the court. These will continue to pave the way for a final conclusion. Legal experts believe it is inevitable that 3M will settle, but only time will tell. The 3M earplug litigation is the largest mass tort in U.S. history with approximately 250,000 men and women alleging hearing loss and tinnitus. Naturally, it will take time to resolve this massive case.
Filing A Claim
When it comes to filing a claim regarding the 3M earplugs lawsuit, the process is easy. In general, you must meet the following qualifications:
- You served in any branch of the U.S. military between 2003 and 2015
- You were given and used military issued earplugs
- You have been medically diagnosed with tinnitus or hearing loss
Gather any important records or documents that provide proof of this criteria and contact Huber Thomas & Marcelle for a consultation. In most cases, you do not owe us any money upfront. We will work with you on a contingent basis, which means you don’t pay us anything until we secure compensation for your injuries.
How much compensation do you get for 3M earplugs litigation?
At Huber Thomas Law, our team is eager to help people heal after the trauma of a medical device injury or incident. The road to recovery is long and often costly. What was wrong with 3M earplugs can evolve into a range of issues, including but not limited to:
- Both physical and mental pain and suffering
- Ongoing medical care or therapy
- Specialized hearing devices
- Lost wages
This may lead victims to wonder, how much compensation do you get for 3M earplugs litigation? This is difficult to answer. As demonstrated through the most recent trials, amounts have varied drastically. Further, while trials will give us a better idea of what’s to come, considering the size of this class, there simply may not be enough money for such high awards.
It’s also worth noting that individuals with severe hearing loss will likely receive more than those with tinnitus. The best way to determine how much compensation you may be eligible for is to get in touch with our 3M earplugs litigation attorneys.
How long will it take to settle the earplug litigation?
This is another unknown as several trials continue to make their way through the court system. While there have been several high-profile verdicts, there is still a long way to go. In fact, roughly 250,000 veterans and active duty service members have filed lawsuits against 3M. Due to the high volume, most experts expect 3M to settle the case, but that could take another year or two.
Our Approach to Product Liability
When you use a particular product, you should be confident it’s going to work. In the best scenario, a defect can simply mean that you wasted money. However, issues concerning medical devices can cost you your health or even your life. Our goal is to get justice for people who become victims in these situations.
In cases like the 3M earplugs lawsuit, it’s important to lean on experts to prove how serious these claims are. By bringing in the right people to testify or provide an opinion, we can prove both causation and damages. This is particularly important in these cases because there is no cure for hearing loss. The damage is irreversible. Knowing this, we work together as a team to secure the compensation you need to move forward.
Our previous case victories demonstrate the no-nonsense approach we take when it comes to litigation. Here are a few examples:
- $2.3 million settlement (before the trial began) for a family after a defective product injured their child
- $1.2 million secured for a child injured by a defective Wal-Mart product
- $42 million for a group of people harmed by home health companies and physicians committing Medicare fraud
At Huber Thomas, our tireless advocacy on behalf of our clients has resulted in millions of dollars secured. This is what you deserve after a life-changing injury or event.
At Huber Thomas Law, we believe in taking care of our veterans and active duty service members. If you were diagnosed with hearing loss and/or tinnitus after serving in the U.S. military between 2003 and 2015, we encourage you to contact us today. The seriousness of these claims can’t be overstated. Many of the victims, in this case, are forever changed by 3M’s misleading claims about these earplugs.
The good news is, an experienced personal injury lawyer at Huber Thomas Law can help. Our team of experts will explain everything you need to know regarding how to bring a case like this to court. We pride ourselves on having an excellent track record when it comes to trials and negotiations. What’s more, we're proud to say that we've been able to help countless clients through difficult situations, securing the compensation they deserve.