3M Company, a well-known Minnesota-based manufacturer, recently settled with the U.S. military over claims that 3M sold the government specially designed combat earplugs for troops on the front lines that were known to be faulty. 3M created two versions of these earplugs, the single-ended version, and the dual-ended version, and allegedly sold the dual-ended version to the government without disclosing any of the product’s defects. These defective earplugs were called the Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs, part of the company’s Military Combat Safety Gear line, and until they were discontinued, they were standard issue equipment materials for several branches of the armed services.
Broughton Partners provides a legal case generation service that helps personal injury attorneys find veterans who are suffering from hearing loss after using 3M’s Combat Arms Earplugs. We deliver pre-qualified 3M Earplugs plaintiffs. The 3M Earplugs lawsuit leads your law firm receives are signed and have been fully examined for lawsuit eligibility. If your law firm is looking to help more victims of hearing damage caused by these defective products, call Broughton Partners today and connect with 3M Earplugs lawsuit leads.
Why Lawsuits Are Being Filed
The 3M Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs were designed to protect the hearing of the wearer using two primary functions; when inserted one way the wearer would be able to hear sounds at reasonable volumes, such as speech, and when inserted in the opposite direction the wearer would get better noise protection from sounds such as gunfire or explosions. While this design seemed promising, it was found that the earplugs did not reach deep enough into the ear due to the stem being too short. The flaw causes the earplugs to come loose and allow destructive sounds such as gunfire, explosions, and machinery to enter the ear canal, potentially damaging the wearer’s hearing. Claims of hearing damage and tinnitus have increased significantly due to this design defect.
Veterans Suffer Hearing Damage
The most common health disability for military personnel and the third most common for U.S. citizens is hearing loss. This condition could be long-term or permanent in some cases. It is essential to follow hearing damage prevention techniques such as wearing ear protection. Hundreds of brave U.S. troops were given earplugs for this very reason, but were being lied to by the manufacturing company. 3M’s military earplugs could potentially be responsible for hundreds of soldiers and veterans’ hearing damage cases.
Symptoms of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss will worsen as time goes on and it will become increasingly difficult to hear others speak. A person experiencing hearing loss may suddenly become sensitive to normal volume levels and begin to hear ringing in the ears. The ability to hear correctly will gradually fade away.
Characterized by irregular or continuous sounds in the ears such as ringing that varies in volume levels, tinnitus is an extremely prevalent health condition found among veterans. Due to their exposure to damaging levels of sound, veterans are at a high risk of this type of hearing damage. The 3M Dual-Ended Combat Arms earplugs were made to prevent these disabilities but have failed to do so. Veterans who suffer from tinnitus experience life-changing consequences and find it difficult to perform daily tasks. Tinnitus causes sounds that only the sufferer can hear which include:
Broughton Partners wants to help Veterans who are suffering from the above symptoms by connecting them with your law firm.
3M Knowingly Sold Defective Products
The 3M Dual-Ended Combat Arms earplugs were initially manufactured by Aearo Technologies, and the company was allegedly aware of the flawed design as early as the year 2000, according to the 3M lawsuit.
In May 2016, a competitor of 3M named Moldex-Metric initiated a whistleblower lawsuit under the False Claims Act2. The False Claims Act gives private parties with evidence of fraud against the government the ability to sue on behalf of the United States government. For their role as whistleblowers in this case, Moldex-Metric will receive $1.9 million of the $9.1 million settlement.
The 3M lawsuit also includes a complaint that 3M and Aearo Technologies manipulated the test results of the earplugs to meet the U.S. government’s required product standards. These fraudulent activities and false claims resulted in damages that 3M had to pay the U.S. government. These damages include monetary damages directly associated with the cost of the earplugs and also a substantial amount of ongoing medical expenses that are associated with helping veterans who suffer from hearing loss or tinnitus affected by these defective earplugs.
3M Pays $9.1 Million Settlement To U.S. Government
On July 26, 2018, the Department of Justice announced that the 3M company will pay $9.1 million due to allegations of selling defective military earplugs to the U.S. Military1. The 3M military earplugs lawsuit accuses the company of selling these earplugs and failing to warn the military of the potential design defects that could lead to tinnitus and hearing loss. Looking to set an example, the Department of Justice wants to make sure companies who engage in fraudulent activities, like the ones 3M was accused of, pay for the damage they’ve caused. Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Department’s Civil Division said in a statement, “The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the men and women serving in the United States military from defective products and fraudulent conduct…”
These Combat Arms 3M earplugs were found not to have the ability to adequately protect the brave men and women of our military and 3M Company will pay the consequence. Frank Robey, director of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit, mentioned in a statement that, “Today’s settlement will ensure that those who do business with the government know that their actions will not go unnoticed,”
The allegations connected to the settlement also include Aearo Technologies Inc, who was acquired by 3M in 2008. Both 3M and Aero Technologies were accused of knowing that the 3M earplugs were too short to be fully inserted into the ear and provide insufficient protection for users. Although 3M agreed to pay $9.1 million to the US Government to resolve these matters, the company has admitted no wrongdoing and accepted no liability.
History of 3M Lawsuits & Settlements
3M Co. is no stranger to lawsuits and settlements. There are several other settlements and lawsuits involving harmful chemicals produced by the company.
October 7, 2015: A water company and three residents filed a class action lawsuit claiming that 3m contaminated the Tennessee river with cancer-causing chemicals called PFOA and PFOS.
February 20, 2018: 3M payed $850 million to settle a lawsuit claiming that a chemical produced by 3M, called PFCS, contaminated drinking water and natural resources in some areas of Minnesota.
June 20, 2018: The state of New York sued 3M Co. Seeking more than $38 million plus punitive damages. The lawsuit claimed that the chemicals used in 3M’s firefighting foam caused “extensive contamination” in the environment and resulted in damage to fish, water, soil, and civilians near the contaminated areas.
December 19, 2018: 3M was sued by Wolverine World Wide Inc., Claiming that the Scotchgard chemical sold by 3M is harmful to the environment and 3M knew of the health risks but continued to sell the chemical to Wolverine.
3M was accused by multiple plaintiffs that the manufacturer was fully aware of the damage that their chemicals could do to the environment, especially the water. There is a long history of lawsuits against 3M Co. that prove the negligence and lack of responsibility this company has often displayed.
3M Earplug Lawsuit – January 2019
The most recent lawsuit against 3M comes from a Texas Veteran, Sergeant Scott D. Rowe, who is holding 3M’s alleged defective earplugs responsible for his hearing loss and tinnitus. Rowe filed suit in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas, claiming that the manufacturer knowingly made and sold defective devices to the US military.
“Everyday I have to live with a high-pitched frequency in my ear that’s deafening at times,” said Scott Rowe in a news release. “These are the side effects of a company that choose not to do what they said they were going to do.”
Veterans like Rowe, who were on the frontlines in Afghanistan and Iraq, should not have to worry about their earplugs failing to protect them. It is disturbing that a company like 3M would provide defective military earplugs to the men and women who protect our country.
The 3M earplug lawsuit will be suing for pain and suffering, medical expenses, loss of wages, physical impairment, and mental anguish.
Where Are 3M Earplugs Lawsuits Being Filed?
Defective 3M Earplug lawsuits have been filed from states across the country. The $9.1 million settlement reimbursed the federal government, but veterans are still looking for compensation for their injuries. As a result, 640 lawsuits have been filed, all of which have been consolidated for multidistrict litigation in Florida. Honorable federal judge Casey Rodgers will be overseeing the lawsuits brought against 3M by U.S. military veterans.
Broughton Partners searches for 3M Earplug cases from all 50 states. Our unique strategy translates nationwide for both Mass Tort Cases and Local Cases in your area. Our digital processes and 24/7-intake center allows us to operate efficiently no matter where you or your plaintiff is located.
Case Criteria For 3M Earplugs
Broughton Partners will only deliver quality 3M Earplugs lawsuit leads that are pre-qualified and match the case criteria specified by your law firm. Our team of trained specialists will be reviewing the eligibility of cases and whether or not a patient’s claim qualifies for a 3M Earplugs lawsuit.
Our case intake system is built upon unique parameters and algorithms that allow us to dynamically improve case quality and conversion. We do this by running potential plaintiffs through specialized questions and a qualification process based on your law firm’s desired criteria. The 3M Earplugs lawsuit leads that your law firm will receive will be questioned and examined to ensure that they are quality retained plaintiffs.
The 3M Earplugs lawsuit leads that Broughton Partners will deliver must meet the following criteria:
- Potential plaintiffs are currently enlisted in the U.S. Military or are a U.S. Veteran
- Potential plaintiffs suffer from hearing loss or tinnitus
- Potential plaintiffs have been issued 3M Combat Arms Earplugs during their time in the military
How Does Broughton Partners Find 3M Earplugs Lawsuit Leads
Our in-house marketing team begins by targeting and connecting with victims who are searching for legal information about their 3M Earplugs case. 3M Earplugs lawsuit leads are then tracked online with our case-acquisition platform the moment potential plaintiffs show interest or after they call. This system is constantly optimized and updated to ensure only qualified 3M cases are being delivered to your law firm.
We have our very own in-house call center that is staffed 24 hours by multi-lingual specialists. Each potential 3M Earplugs case is reviewed by our in-house call center via customized questions and a qualification process based on your law firm’s 3M Earplugs case criteria.
After our team finds qualified 3M Earplugs lawsuit leads, we gather relevant case documents that your law firm would need to start working the cases immediately.
Is your law firm looking to represent victims of 3M Earplugs?
Broughton Partners finds veterans suffering from hearing damage in need of legal help or are actively seeking legal representation. Broughton Partners closely partners with your law firm by providing you with retained plaintiffs who are vetted, prequalify and follow your 3M Earplugs case criteria.
The ability to bring in new 3M Earplugs cases in a cost-effective way without sacrificing the needs of your current clients and the daily demands of your practice is a challenge at best. Broughton Partners is here to give you a competitive advantage by connecting you with more qualified 3M Earplugs cases that are ready and need your representation today.
Call Broughton Partners today at (855) 463-1735, or contact us for your free consultation. Together we can ensure there is No Claimant without a Claim.
- WebMD. “Hearing Loss”, WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/hearing-loss-causes-symptoms-treatment#1. Accessed January 2nd, 2019.
- Military.com. “Tinnitus is Number One Disability For Veterans”, Militray.com, https://www.military.com/benefits/veterans-health-care/tinnitus-is-number-one-disability-for-veterans.html. Accessed January 2nd, 2019..
- Mayo Clinic. “Tinnitus”, Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tinnitus/symptoms-causes/syc-20350156. Accessed January 2nd, 2019.
- WILL MORRIS. “Contractor settles for $9.1 million after providing defective earplugs for servicemembers”, STARS AND STRIPES, https://www.stripes.com/news/contractor-settles-for-9-1-million-after-providing-defective-earplugs-for-servicemembers-1.540137. Accessed January 2nd, 2019.
- Department of Justice. “3M Company Agrees to Pay $9.1 Million to Resolve Allegations That it Supplied the United States With Defective Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs”, Department of Justice, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/3m-company-agrees-pay-91-million-resolve-allegations-it-supplied-united-states-defective-dual. Accessed January 2nd, 2019.