3M Scammed the U.S. Military with Faulty Earplugs and Now It’s Paying the Price

Russell Nketiah Tannor


3M Scammed the U.S. Military with Faulty Earplugs and Now It’s Paying the Price

3M has been sued by hundreds of thousands of veterans who suffered hearing loss after using its defective earplugs. Find out how much 3M has to pay and why it’s not enough

3M, the multinational manufacturing company, has agreed to pay $6 billion to settle about 300,000 lawsuits filed by military veterans who claimed they suffered hearing loss and tinnitus due to defective earplugs supplied by the company.

The earplugs, known as Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2), were designed to protect soldiers' ears from loud noises during training and combat. They were used by the U.S. military from 2003 to 2015 in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, many veterans alleged that the earplugs were faulty and did not fit properly, allowing harmful sounds to enter their ears and damage their hearing.

The settlement agreement, announced on Monday, is not an admission of liability by 3M, which said that the earplugs were safe and effective when used correctly. The company also said that it was prepared to continue to defend itself in court if certain terms of the settlement were not fulfilled.

The settlement comes after a series of trials in which the plaintiffs and the defendant each won some cases. Of the 16 "bellwether" cases that were selected as representative of the larger group of lawsuits, 10 resulted in verdicts for the plaintiffs and six for the defense. The plaintiffs were awarded damages ranging from $1.7 million to $7.1 million each.

The lawsuits against 3M began after another company, Moldex-Metric, filed a whistleblower lawsuit in 2016, accusing 3M of selling defective earplugs to the government and knowing that they did not meet the standards for ear protection required by the military. In 2018, 3M agreed to pay $9.1 million to the Department of Justice to resolve the allegations without admitting liability.

The settlement with the veterans is one of the largest product liability settlements in U.S. history. It is also the second major settlement that 3M has reached this summer over its products. In June, the company agreed to pay up to $10.3 billion over 13 years to fund public water suppliers that have detected its toxic "forever chemicals" in their water sources.

The settlement with the veterans is expected to be paid over several years and will consist of $5 billion in cash and $1 billion in stock. The federal judge overseeing the multidistrict litigation has ordered the parties to begin mediation in an attempt to facilitate a settlement and avoid overwhelming the federal judicial system with thousands of lawsuits.

Post a Comment

Post a Comment (0)