Military personnel suffer hearing loss from defective 3M Combat Arms Earplugs.
Shannon Pennock, the daughter of a former naval officer and indeed born on a marine base overseas, has deep appreciation for the dedication of our servicemen and servicewomen. Unlike, apparently, the 3M Company. Ms. Pennock finds it appalling that those serving our country were provided with defective equipment by the 3M Company. Unfortunately, having battled many different corporations over the years from polluters to drug manufacturers, she knows that nothing should be unexpected when the good and right thing runs up against corporate profits.
The 3M Dual Ended Combat Arms Earplugs
The 3M Company is the manufacturer of the Dual-Ended Combat Arms earplugs. The 3M company has not yet made an admission of wrongdoing despite recently paying the U.S. Government $9.1 Million to settle allegations that they knowingly provided defective equipment https://www.pennocklawfirm.com/3m-dual-ended-combat-earplugs-complaint/
No determination of liability was made due to the settlement. https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/3m-company-agrees-pay-91-million-resolve-allegations-it-supplied-united-states-defective-dual
U.S. servicemen and servicewomen are filing individual lawsuits that allege the 3M Company’s awareness of their equipment’s inability to adequately protect servicemen and servicewomen. The lawsuits allege that the 3M Company’s Dual Ended Combat Arms Earplugs were too short to protect military personnel from hearing loss when used as directed, and that the 3M company endangered military personnel by lying about the equipment’s safety. The Dual-Ended Combat Arms earplugs were designed with two intentions. The olive-colored end was meant to block all sound, while the yellow-colored side was allegedly intended to protect servicemen and servicewomen from loud impulse noises without interfering with their ability to listen to milder sounds like commands. However, these earplugs purportedly failed no matter which end was inserted into the wearer’s ear.
Service Members Suffering Hearing Loss and Tinnitus
At least one lawsuit, filed by a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, alleges that he was issued the 3M Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs and used them as directed in both training and active duty. His alleged hearing loss is a direct consequence of the defective nature of 3M’s earplugs, 3M’s failure to warn and 3M’s negligence, among other claims. According to the lawsuit, when military personnel insert the earplug according to the device’s instructions, “the edge of the third flange of the non-inserted end of the earplug presses against the wearers’ ear canal and folds back to its original shape…”1 The flaw in the design of the earplug means that the device becomes loose when pressed against the wearer’s ear canal rendering the earplugs incapable of protecting our service members.
Since the 3M Company’s earplugs did not fit securely in the wearers’ ears, the equipment left service members vulnerable to suffering hearing loss or tinnitus. https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/understanding-tinnitus-basics
The resulting injuries can range from mild to profound. Even slight hearing damage can inhibit a person from hearing someone speak at a normal level. Another potential outcome of the use of these faulty earplugs is tinnitus, an underlying condition of hearing loss, which can make a person perceive a buzzing, hissing, ringing, or roaring noise in their ears which is not actually present in the external world. According to the veteran’s association, Tinnitus is one of the most common ailments suffered by veterans with approximately 2 million veterans currently suffering from the ailment.
False Claims Act and 3M
When a federal contractor enters business with the U.S. government and is accused of perpetrating fraud, the False Claims Act can be applied. This is the case with the 3M company and their Combat Arms Earplugs.
“The United States further alleged that 3M did not disclose this design defect to the military.”2
The qui tam, or whistleblower, aspects of the False Claims Act, enable a private party to sue on behalf of the federal government against the 3M Company.
Pennock Law Firm LLC Accepting Cases of 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Injuries
If you or a loved one are suffering from hearing loss or tinnitus after using the 3M Company’s Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs between 2003 and 2015, you may be able to seek compensation. Initiating litigation is no guarantee of success, but Shannon Pennock at the Pennock Law Firm LLC can assess the merits of your defective device lawsuit during a free case evaluation.