The federal government reached a $9.1 million settlement with 3M in July 2018 when it was determined that a defect in their standard military-issued ear plugs allowed deafening sounds to penetrate the ear drum of combat troops. Military ear plugs lawsuit settlements are in the early stages, so it is an ideal time to speak with Showard Law Firm regarding your potential claim for compensation.
Veterans Seek Defective Military Ear Plugs Settlements
During the trial for the 3M whistleblower lawsuit filed under the False Claims Act, the U.S. Department of Justice found evidence that employees knew as early as 2000 that the ear plugs had a tendency to loosen in the “closed” position over time and did not measure up to the military’s standards. Test results were allegedly falsified to show that the ear plugs passed – when, in fact, they did not. The manufacturer refused to admit liability, however, and the $9.1 million was paid as a fine to the government and did not include compensation for any individual plaintiffs.
Showard Law Firm is now handling lawsuits on the behalf of military service members with hearing damage. “It sounds like a chorus of cicadas sitting on your shoulders constantly, and the less ambient noise around, the worse that tinnitus is,” said Retired Army Brig. Gen. William Gothard of Fayetteville, N.C. after 36 years of service. He added: “Anytime we were on a (shooting) range, anytime, you know, flying in a helicopter, riding in a Humvee — we used them every day when I was in Iraq, whenever we went out on a patrol or went anywhere, just simply because the vehicle noise is loud as well.”
Holding vendors accountable for dishonesty, negligence, and defects sends an important message to other military equipment providers.
Individual Military Ear Plugs Lawsuit Settlements Consolidated in MDL 2885
Following the $9.1 million whistleblower settlement, hundreds of individual military service members have followed suit in making claims against 3M. We are in the early stages of the litigation where individuals are meeting with lawyers to find out if they qualify to be part of the national MDL. As of April 2019, no individual settlements have been paid out.
On March 28, 2019, a federal judicial panel consolidated at least 640 military ear plug lawsuits into Multi-District Litigation in Florida. U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers will preside over MDL 2885. Centralization allows for better resources and expertise to manage the litigation’s parties and witnesses efficiently.
Going forward, we can expect the scheduling of several bellwether trials, which will present the strengths and weaknesses of the central arguments and invite both parties to move closer to resolution. If 3M loses the first few trials, the likelihood of productive settlement negotiations increases.
Northern Florida is considered a favorable location for plaintiffs involved in the litigation, as there is a large military service member population. The judge has also served two years in the U.S. military and recently reached a confidential global settlement for the more than 2,000 Abilify lawsuits.
Do You Qualify for a 3M Defective Ear Plugs Settlement?
You may be eligible to file your claim if:
- You are an active U.S. military service member or veteran who served between 2003 and 2015.
- You served in overseas combat missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya, Syria, or Yemen.
- You suffer from any degree of medically-diagnosed hearing loss or tinnitus.
- You file your claim within the statute of limitations for your state, based on the “discovery of harm” rule.
Will Compensation for Tinnitus Affect My Military Benefits?
If the lawsuit succeeds, veterans can anticipate the following compensation for tinnitus and hearing damage:
- Past, present, and future hearing loss related doctor’s visits, surgeries, therapies, and assistive devices.
- Lost past and present wages, as well as reduced future earning capacity due to hearing loss.
- Emotional pain, suffering, anguish, and distress.
The U.S. Department of Veterans pays more than $1 billion toward over 2.7 million hearing loss claims annually. Service members receive anywhere from $140 to $3,000 a month, depending on the extent of disability. Obtaining settlement compensation from a lawsuit will in no way impact the VA benefits you receive.
Best of all, cases are accepted on a contingency basis only – meaning that lawyers get no legal fees if your claim does not result in money put into your pocket. Legal representation helps you secure the maximum possible recovery, and it costs nothing upfront, so why wait? If you sustained hearing damage due to defective Combat Arms ear plugs, contact Showard Law Firm today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.