Our lawyers are investigating cases for service members who used 3M military earplugs — Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) — and suffered permanent hearing damage.
Need a Texas 3M Earplug Lawyer? Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged. If you or a loved one was diagnosed with hearing problems after using 3M Combat Arms Earplugs, you should contact our lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit.
UPDATE: 3M Pays $6 Billion Settlement to End Earplug Lawsuits
In August 2023, 3M announced a $6 billion settlement to resolve more than 260,000 claims from military veterans and service-members who lost their hearing despite using the company’s earplugs. The payout per person will depend on the severity of their injuries.
All of the lawsuits involve 3M’s Combat Arms Earplugs version 2 (CAEv2), which were developed by the military contractor Aearo Technologies. 3M purchased the company in 2008 and assumed liability for the earplugs.
The plaintiffs are military veterans and service-members who were issued the earplugs between 2003 and 2015, including many veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lawsuits claim that the earplugs were defective and failed to prevent hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
The settlement will end the largest mass-tort litigation in U.S. history. Hundreds of thousands of lawsuits were centralized in a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) in Florida, where 16 cases went to trial. Of those cases, 3M lost 10 trials. Juries awarded about $265 million to veterans in those trials.
10th Trial Ends in $77.5 Million Award for U.S. Army Veteran
In May 2022, the 10th and final bellwether trial ended in a jury awarding $77.5 million to James B., a U.S. Army veteran who blames 3M earplugs on his hearing loss and bilateral tinnitus.
Back-to-Back Verdicts Award $50 Million & $8 Million to Veterans
In March 2022, two separate trials in Florida ended in federal juries awarding $58 million to two veterans who suffered hearing loss despite wearing 3M’s military earplugs.
Luke Vilsmeyer, a U.S. Army veteran who served as a howitzer gunner and a Green Beret, was awarded $50 million by a jury in Pensacola, Florida. The other plaintiff, Steve Wilkerson, was an Army National Guard veteran who was awarded $8 million by a jury in Tallahassee, Florida.
3M Hit With $110 Million Verdict in Favor of 2 Army Veterans
In January 2022, two U.S. Army veterans were awarded a total of $110 million by a federal jury in 3M. The men, William Wayman and Ronald Sloan, filed lawsuits accusing 3M of selling defective earplugs that failed to prevent them from suffering from permanent hearing loss.
U.S. Army Vet Awarded $22.5 Million
In December 2021, a jury in Florida awarded $22.5 million to Theodore F., a U.S. Army veteran who suffered noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears) in both ears after serving in the Army from 2006 through 2014.
$13 Million Awarded to Veteran With Hearing Loss
In November 2021, a jury in Florida awarded $13 million to active-duty Army Sgt. Guillermo Camarillo, who alleges that he suffered hearing loss while using 3M’s Combat Arms military earplugs.
4th Trial Ends in $8.2 Million Award to U.S. Army Serviceman
In September 2021, a jury awarded $8.2 million to a U.S. Army veteran who served from 2004 through 2009, including two tours in Afghanistan. He filed a lawsuit after suffering from hearing loss and tinnitus due to using defective 3M earplugs.
3rd Trial Ends in $1.7 Million Award to Infantryman
In June 2021, a jury in Florida awarded $1.7 million to a former infantryman and machine gun operator who lost his hearing after using 3M’s earplugs. He started using the earplugs during training in 2005. After being deployed to Iraq, he was diagnosed with tinnitus and hearing loss in both ears in 2009.
1st 3M Earplug Trial Ends in $7.1 Million Verdict
In April 2021, a jury in Florida awarded $7.1 million to three veterans (or $2.4 million each) who suffered hearing loss despite wearing 3M Earplugs. The case was the 1st trial to test how a jury would respond to evidence and award damages, and it may lead to a settlement or another resolution in thousands of similar lawsuits.
300,000 People Join Military Earplug Lawsuits
By January 2022, there were nearly 300,000 military servicemen and women nationwide who had registered to claim they suffered hearing loss and/or tinnitus due to 3M’s dual-ended Combat Arms military earplugs.
Most of the cases involve Army veterans between the ages of 30 and 49 years old who served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan.
These lawsuits are not part of a class action. Instead, the cases are centralized at the federal level in MDL No. 2885 – 3M Combat Arms Earplugs Products Liability Litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida.
3M Military Earplug Lawsuits
Lawsuits against 3M claim that Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) have a stem that is too short, which makes them difficult to insert deeply enough into the ear canal to achieve a tight fit. Furthermore, the earplugs can slowly loosen while being worn, allowing dangerous sounds to enter the ear canal and cause permanent hearing loss.
3M Pays $9 Million Settlement for Soldiers’ Defective Earplugs
In July 2018, 3M agreed to pay a $9.1 million settlement to the U.S. Defense Department to resolve a whistleblower lawsuit claiming the CAEv2 earplugs were defective.
What is the Problem?
The whistleblower lawsuit claimed that 3M and the company that invented the earplugs, Aearo Technologies Inc., were aware as early as 2000 that the earplugs could loosen because the stem was too short. The defects were not disclosed to the military for over a decade.
Health Risks of Using Defective Earplugs
Earplugs are essential safety equipment on a battlefield, where gunshots and explosions can instantly cause permanent hearing damage. The consequences of using defective earplugs include:
- Hearing loss
- Ringing in the ears
How do 3M Ear Plugs Work?
CAEv2 earplugs are dual-sided earplugs. Insert the olive-green side, and they work like traditional earplugs. Insert the yellow side, and the earplugs allow the wearer to hear quiet nearby sounds (like talking) while still being protected from impulse sounds, such as explosions.
Who Used CAEv2 Earplugs?
3M Combat Arms Earplugs were standard-issue to millions of people involved in U.S. military conflicts between 2002 and 2016, including:
- War in Afghanistan
- The Iraq War
- War in North-West Pakistan (War on Terror)
- War in Somalia
- Operation Ocean Shield in the Indian Ocean
- American-led intervention in Libya (Libyan Crisis)
- American-led intervention in Syria
- Yemeni Civil War
Was Your Hearing Damaged by Defective Earplugs?
Hearing damage is an extremely common health problem faced by members of the military. It is also one of the most devastating. Problems with hearing can add to depression, make it impossible to work or go to school, and significantly decrease quality of life.
3M Earplug Class Action Lawsuit
Our lawyers are working with members of the military to recover financial compensation for their medical expenses, pain and suffering, disability, and hearing loss as a result of using defective earplugs.
Need a 3M Earplug Lawyer in Texas?
Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged.
Collen’s amazing success in the courtroom and well known dedication to his clients has earned him the recognition of his peers as one of The Top Trial Lawyers in Texas.”
The Clark Firm has assembled a team of trial lawyers with more than 100 years experience, participation in over 600 jury trials and $260 million in verdicts and/or settlements. Please use the form below to contact our law firm for a free case review.