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January 1, 3M Commits to $6 Billion Settlement Over Controversial Earplugs



In a groundbreaking decision, the global manufacturing titan 3M has concurred to remit $6 billion in response to over a quarter-million lawsuits. These legal actions hinge on allegations that earplugs they provided the U.S. armed forces were deficient, causing hearing impairment.

From 2003 to 2015, these earplugs, integral to both training and combat scenarios, were sourced from Aearo Technologies. This firm later came under 3M’s umbrella in 2008, as mentioned by CNN. The litigation wave began to swell when veterans voiced their hearing complaints.

The primary grievances, as pointed out by CNBC, were centered around purported design shortcomings, insufficient guidance, and potentially manipulated test outcomes, culminating in their auditory damages.

Named as the Combat Arms Earplug litigation, these cases were brought together under the watchful eye of U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers in a federal court situated in Pensacola, Florida, in 2019.

Astonishingly, these cases represented a significant portion of the federal court’s caseload, coming in at roughly 30%, as highlighted by sources.

While 3M has staunchly held the position that this colossal financial commitment “is not an admission of liability”, they’ve delineated their payment structure.

By 2029, 3M aims to disburse $5 billion in hard cash, complemented by an additional $1 billion in company stock.

In their official statement, the company emphasized the mediated nature of this agreement.

“This agreement, reached through the mediation process that 3M has previously disclosed, is structured to promote participation by claimants and is intended to resolve all claims associated with the Combat Arms Earplug products,” the company stated.

“The products at issue in this litigation are safe and effective when used properly. 3M is prepared to continue to defend itself in the litigation if certain agreed terms of the settlement agreement are not fulfilled.”

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. David Coelho

    September 3, 2023 at 5:18 pm

    i used these earplugs and now have severe tinnitus from shooting at a shooting range…

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