In July of 2018, 3M Company entered a plea of “no contest” in a federal False Claims Act (also known as “qui tam”) action with the United States Department of Justice. While 3M did not explicitly admit wrongdoing, it did agree to pay over Nine Million Dollars to the federal government to resolve claims that 3M and its predecessor companies falsified test results and misstated the performance of the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs, version 2 (CAEv2).
Hundreds of of service members have already filed suit claiming that the earplugs’ defective design caused them to suffer hearing loss or tinnitus. Thousands more are expected to file similar claims. In April, 2019, the Joint Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered that all such cases filed in federal court be conditionally transferred to the Northern District of Florida for consolidated pretrial proceedings before the Hon. M. Casey Rogers, United States District Judge.
Medically speaking, hearing loss is just that: lost ability to hear sounds at certain frequencies. That is people who have hearing loss do not necessarily lose all hearing functionality. Rather, it is common for military service members who suffer hearing loss to be able to hear some sounds but not others. Tinnitus, on the other hand, is the perception of noise or ringing in the ears. That is, tinnitus sufferers “hear” these sounds without any outside stimulus. The high pitch ringing or buzzing of tinnitus can be severe and unremitting for some people, and can interfere with all aspects of a person’s life.
Lear Werts is proud to be one of the firm’s representing service members from around the country in this important litigation. If you served in the United States military from 2003 to 2012 and used the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs, contact our office for a free consultation to see if you may qualify.
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