OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM AND OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM VETS WHO USED THE COMBAT ARMS EARPLUGS
Defective combat earplugs sold by 3M may have caused U.S. military personnel to face an increased risk of hearing loss or tinnitus, leading the manufacturer to pay a settlement of more than $9 million to the Department of Justice last year.
Justice Department officials say that 3M sold its Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) to the Defense Logistics Agency with knowledge that the products may be too short to properly fit in users’ ears, resulting in a risk that the seal may be lost and exposure veterans to hearing damage.
The defective Combat Arms Earplugs, which are now discontinued, may have caused U.S. soldiers who trusted their equipment to work properly to suffer tinnitus, hearing loss and other ear problems. This means that not only did the U.S. military pay out for earplugs that did not work, but also likely had to pay for medical expenses that could have been avoided.
In July 2018, 3M and the Department of Justice reached a $9.1 million agreement to resolve allegations against the company. The case came due to a lawsuit filed in May 2016 under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act.
“The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the men and women serving in the United States military from defective products and fraudulent conduct,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler said in a press release at the time. “Government contractors who seek to profit at the expense of our military will face appropriate consequences.”
However, it is unclear how many soldiers were injured by the earplugs, and how many have left the service and sought medical treatment on their own for ear damage they do not realize was due to the defective earplugs.
If you are a loved one served in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom during 2003-2015 and wore Combat Arms Earplugs who now suffers from hearing loss or tinnitus, YOU may be entitled to compensation! Contact the experienced attorneys at veteran owned and operated Matassini Law Firm, P.A. to determine your options now!
From the desk of Joseph G. Alvarez, Esq.