In a whistleblower lawsuit brought by the U.S. government, 3M violated the False Claims Act by supplying defective earplugs to the military. Thousands of service members who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2003 and 2015 experienced hearing issues since the dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2) were standard issue. If you have been issued CAEv2 earplugs while serving the armed forces and now suffer hearing problems, you may be eligible to seek financial compensation for your injuries.
At Wagner Reese, we greatly appreciate how the men and women of the U.S. military commit and sacrifice their lives on behalf of our country. Now, our Indiana personal injury attorneys are dedicated to protecting their rights and best interests in order to obtain the monetary damages and justice they deserve. With more than 150 years of combined legal experience, we can evaluate your case, create an effective case strategy, and help you maximize your entitled award.
Why Were the Earplugs Defective?
The now-discontinued CAEv2 earplugs had two different colored sides: one yellow end and one olive-green end. The olive-green side performed like traditional earplugs and the yellow side was designed to reduce extremely loud sounds (i.e. gunfire and explosions), while still allowing soldiers to hear quieter noises such as verbal commands and approaching enemy targets.
However, the earplug’s basic function was inherently faulty since they were too short. In addition, they could gradually loosen in the wearer’s ear, exposing them to damaging sounds.
According to court documents, 3M and Aearo Technologies, Inc. (its predecessor) were aware of the defects after the earplugs failed several safety tests and allegedly provided falsified information to the military before the contract was finalized. In the whistleblower lawsuit, the U.S. government was awarded $9.1 million, while the whistleblower—Moldex-Metric, Inc.—received $1.9 million.
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In a recent study by the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), over 2.7 million veterans have obtained disability benefits for hearing loss and tinnitus (buzzing or ringing in the ears). However, the number might be even higher since the VA has yet to document every case of military hearing loss.
If you suffer from hearing loss or tinnitus and were deployed between the years 2003-2015 in any of the following countries, you may be entitled to compensation:
Our Indiana personal injury lawyers will fight on behalf of service members who have fought to protect the United States. Do not hesitate to obtain the experienced and personalized legal solutions necessary to get the best possible outcome in your case.
For more information, contact us and discuss your case with Wagner Reese today.