3M Company Agrees to $6 Billion Settlement for US Military Earplug Lawsuit

3M Company and Aearo Technologies, the companies responsible for the defective US military earplugs, have agreed to a $6.01 billion settlement to pay for plaintiffs who had hearing loss. About 240,000 plaintiffs are expected to receive compensation until 2029.

Those who used 3M Combat Arms Earplugs (Version 2 – CAEv2) between 2003 and 2015 may be entitled to this new settlement. This product had a defective design that led to them becoming loose and failing to protect from loud and harmful noises from war.

This 3M Company military earplugs settlement follows the company’s failed attempt to move the case into bankruptcy court. The 3M military earplugs multi-district litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of Florida became the largest mass tort in US history, as over 200,000 plaintiffs filed lawsuits to hold 3M Company accountable for negligence.

3M Military Earplugs Caus Hearing Loss

The 3M Combat Arms Earplugs (Version 2 – CAEv2) are dual-ended earplugs that were the industry standard in some branches of the US military between 2003 and 2015. Depending on which side the person used, the earplugs could block out all sounds or just loud noises and allow spoken orders to come through still.

Aearo Technologies originally developed the military earplugs and earned a decade-long, exclusive contract with the military to provide earplugs. 3M Company took over the contract in 2008 when they bought Aearo Technologies.

Military personnel still suffered from hearing loss and tinnitus despite using these earplugs. According to the Hearing Health Foundation, over 1.1 million veterans received hearing loss disability benefits, and more than 1.7 million received tinnitus disability benefits. 3M Combat Arms earplugs had a defective design that led to them loosening and letting in loud noises.

3M Earplug Lawsuit MDL: The Largest Mass Tort in US History

Soldiers from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars discovered that they suffered hearing loss and tinnitus from defective earplugs. They filed personal injury lawsuits against the 3M Company and Aearo Technologies for providing a product with a faulty design that did not work correctly.

According to a 3M whistleblower lawsuit in 2016, 3M Company knew about the defective design of the military earplugs and sold them anyway. In 2018, 3M Company reached a $9.1 million settlement with the Department of Defense to resolve defective design allegations.

In 2019, individual service members filed lawsuits against 3M Company Aearo Technologies to pursue compensation for damages. The lawsuits eventually consolidated into a multi-district litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of Florida. In just a few years, the MDL became the largest mass tort in US history, with over 200,000 plaintiffs seeking compensation for damages.

3M Company and Aearo Technologies Failed Bankruptcy Attempt

The 3M military earplugs MDL did not go in a direction favoring 3M Company and Aearo Technologies. 16 3M combat earplug cases went to trial, with 3M Company losing ten of them and paying $265 million to 13 plaintiffs.

Aearo Technologies filed for bankruptcy in 2022, and 3M Company funded $1 billion for the company’s liabilities from the lawsuits. 3M Company argued that the earplug lawsuits were unfair because MDL Judge Rogers failed to allow favorable evidence to their case.

The bankruptcy court judge dismissed the bankruptcy because they found Aearo Technologies was not in a dire enough financial position. This failed bankruptcy filing led to the recent military earplug lawsuit settlement.

How Much Will 3M Earplug Lawsuit Plaintiffs Receive From the Settlement?

3M Company agreed to a $6.01 billion settlement for military earplug lawsuit plaintiffs that will pay them until 2029. $1 billion of this settlement will come in 3M Company stock options from what they put up for Aearo Technologies’ bankruptcy attempt.

About 240,000 military earplug lawsuit plaintiffs are eligible to receive compensation for the settlement. However, 3M Company can walk away from the settlement if less than 98% of eligible plaintiffs do not decide to participate.

Despite agreeing to the settlement, 3M Company suggests this is not an admission of guilt. They believe their Combat Arms Earplugs were safe and did not cause hearing loss, as the plaintiffs suggested.

Damages in the 3M Military Earplugs MDL

Plaintiffs in the 3M military earplugs MDL can now receive compensation for damages for the next several years. This compensation can pay for economic damages that affect a person’s financial standing. They can also compensate them for non-economic losses that have to do with negative effects on their quality of life.

The following are the damages 3M earplug lawsuit plaintiffs can recover compensation for:

Should You Hire a Class Action Lawyer to Help With Your 3M Earplugs Lawsuit?

3M Company Combat Arms Earplugs are a dangerous product that has caused many military personnel to suffer hearing loss and tinnitus. If you were one of those who used them and suffered severe health problems, you could file paperwork to join the MDL.

The defendants held liable for negligence in providing earplugs with defective designs have already agreed to a settlement. You could still use the help of a class action lawyer to explain how you could receive compensation from this settlement.

Hiring a lawyer at this stage can still prove beneficial, as they can explain what paperwork you need to file to join the MDL, how you can receive money from the settlement, and what the process will look like moving forward. Contact a mass tort lawyer today to see how you can benefit from the 3M military earplugs MDL settlement.

Contact The Russo Firm for Help With Your 3M Earplugs Lawsuit

The product liability lawyers at The Russo Firm have decades of experience helping victims of dangerous products recover compensation for damages. They have helped those involved in mass torts, like those regarding hair relaxers, talc powder, and AFFF firefighting foam.

Our product liability lawyers can use their mass tort experience to explain how you can benefit from the 3M military earplug settlement and receive compensation for damages. Contact us for a free consultation today at (561) 270-0913 or leave a message on our online contact page.

Article written or reviewed by:

Attorney Anthony Russo

Attorney Anthony Russo

Managing Partner and Lawyer at The Russo Firm

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