The news has been out there for a while, but if you’re like me and try to avoid news, you might not have heard. 3M Company, one of the largest companies in the United States (you know, the one that makes Scotch tape and scratch pads and pet hair rollers, and a whole lot more), is being sued by veterans across the country who used 3M earplugs to protect against hearing loss.
The United States government actually filed a lawsuit against 3M in 2018, alleging that 3M sold these earplugs to the U.S. Military with knowledge that they didn’t work. In legal-speak, the earplugs were “defective.” To settle the case, 3M paid the United States $9.1 million.
A lot of people on social media and elsewhere seem to believe that the $9.1 million settlement will be distributed amongst service members who sustained hearing loss because of the defective 3M earplugs. But this is not the case. This money will go to the government and the whistleblower who outed 3M.
There are also a lot of people on social media and articles online that classify the litigation now being brought by individual service members as a “class action.” This is also not the case. The current litigation is known as “Multi-District Litigation ( or MDL),” which means that there isn’t just one case brought on behalf of thousands of injured service members. Rather, there are thousands of service members bringing individual lawsuits against 3M.
This is good news for service members, because as a plaintiff in his or her individual case, he or she has a lot more control over what ultimately happens, and the outcome is more tailored to his or her harms and losses, whether they be mild, moderate, or severe.
If you or someone you know used the 3M earplugs in the military between 2003 and 2015 and sustained hearing loss or now deals with tinnitus or some other hearing issue, it may be time to speak to a personal injury attorney who understands the litigation against 3M and can help you get the compensation you deserve. Please call Doug Bailey at Bailey | Stock | Harmon | Cottam | Lopez LLP right away for a free consultation.
And in the meantime:
- Hold onto your 3M earplugs (CAEv2). Hopefully, you still have them.
- Gather any photos or videos showing you wearing the CAEv2 earplugs.
- Make a list of the base(s) you served on while using your CAEv2 earplugs.
- Summarize your exposure to IEDs or EFPs during your service.
- Keep a copy of your DD Form 214 and any other military paperwork dealing with hearing loss, discharge, or service-related disability.
- Gather your medical records that show the treatment you’ve received for your hearing loss or other hearing issues.