Between 2003 and 2015, the 3M Company exclusively provided combat earplugs to our military. Their distinctive black and yellow combat earplugs became standard issue in every branch of the US armed forces, including the Coast Guard.
These earplugs were fundamentally defective. They were not long enough to form a soundproof seal inside a wearer’s ear. As a result, thousands of service persons across the US military suffered hearing damage in the course of their duties. Now, many are asking if they have a case against 3M combat earplugs.
The False Claims Act
A Civil War law known as the False Claims Act makes it illegal to sell products known to be defective. In July 2018, the US Department of Justice alleged that 3M knew their combat earplugs were defective as early as 2000, three years before they were used in combat.
Since then, the 3M Company agreed to pay the Department of Justice a $9.1 million settlement. While the government has settled with 3M, many service members are still impacted by hearing damage. Thankfully, the False Claims act has something called the “qui tam” provision. This allows individuals to sue 3M on behalf of the government.
For someone to file a 3M combat earplugs claim with their lawyer, they must meet three key criteria.
1. You served in any branch of the armed forces for a period of time between 2003 and 2015.
2. You were issued double-sided 3M combat earplugs. These are identifiable by their black and yellow color scheme.
3. You now experience tinnitus or hearing loss.
If you meet those three criteria, you may be able to file a claim against the 3M Company. If you’d like an experienced mass tort lawyer from Thomas W. Brock to evaluate your 3M combat earplugs case, please send us an email or give us a call at (601) 202-9744.