In an ongoing series of litigation against 3M, hundreds of veterans alleging that they have permanent hearing loss and tinnitus as a result of defective combat earplugs sold by the Maplewood, Minn-based conglomerate corporation, are expected to file suit, according to a recent report by CBS News. In a segment of CBS This Morning shown online, Dr Jon LaPook spoke with two veterans who now have partial hearing loss and tinnitus after using the earplugs.
“From what I remember, guys would put them in and, like, they had bigger ear canals so it would go all the way in and sort of get stuck in there or you had guys that would put them in and still be able to hear everything,” veteran David Hendersen was quoted as saying by CBS. “But you have so many other things to worry about, you know, particular to safety or your…physical well-being.”
Joseph Junk, who served in the military for 3 years, said he, along with others, was confident that the earplugs would work to protect his hearing.
“We’ve just been told that, ‘This is the equipment you get and it’s the best out there. It’s gonna save your hearing,’” Junk was quoted in the article as saying. “Later on, we found out that it didn’t really protect our hearing that much at all.”
Andrew Duffy, an attorney representing over 24 veterans filing suit against 3M, said that he ultimately hopes to send a message to the company that, “you cannot defraud the United States of America and have the consequences be the health and well-being of our military members.”
In 2018, 3M paid $9.1 million to the military to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act in selling the dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2) with a known defect that wasn’t disclosed.
The Combat earplugs were acquired by 3M as part of its $1.2 billion purchase of Aearo Technologies in 2008. 3M discontinued the dual-action Combat earplugs in 2015 and no current products are said to be included in the lawsuit.
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Source: CBS News