Update: 3M Combat Arms Military Earplugs Lawsuits

hernia mesh implant failure
Hernia Mesh Lawsuits & Settlements
September 17, 2019
senators call for e-cigarette ban
Lawmakers Call for E-cigarette Ban
September 24, 2019
3M combat arms earplugs lawsuit update

Litigation Update June, 2021.

June 18, 2021 – Today a Florida federal jury decided that an armed service man should be awarded $1.7 million from sustained hearing loss from the 3M combat earplugs. The court said 3M was 62% responsible for the hearing loss. This now is the second loss in the three bellwether trials.

3M’s failure to warn is what the jury decided, but also said plaintiff Lloyd Baker was 38% responsible. Lloyd is one of some 235,000 service members that have filed claims in this large MDL, alleging the earplugs are defective in preventing hearing loss from ultraloud trainings and in combat scenarios.   

Are you experiencing hearing impairment after serving in the US military?

Step 1 of 4

Baker, was a M240 machine gun operator, testified that he began having muffled hearing and tinnitus when training at Fort Lewis in Washington state in 2005-2006 before being deployed in Iraq. He was diagnosed in 2009 with tinnitus.        

July 28, 2020 – San Diego, CA.  A federal court ruling yesterday in Florida torpedoed a legal move of 3M’s plan of using a “government contractor defense” status to clear itself from tort liability from lawsuits on its allegedly defective combat earplugs.  3M based in Maplewood Minnesota stated that it developed these defective earplugs by closely working with the Army.

However, U.S. District Court Judge M. Casey Rodgers ruled that 3M lacked evidence “to establish the elements of the government contractors defense” by 3M.

The Judge stated; “The [earplug’s] design already existed — it came into existence without any input from the Army,” Rodgers wrote in the ruling. “The Army never issued a request for a design proposal for the new earplug, there was no competitive bidding process during which the Army established design details for a new earplug from interested contractors.”

3M’s lawyers issued this statement; “We remain confident the evidence will show that the CAEv2 product, which was developed in response to the U.S. military’s request and based on its own specifications and testing, was not defective and did not cause injuries.”

In our legal opinion 3M basically tried to use and put blame on the Army, and the Judge clearly saw through that argument.  Read below to understand what the 3M military earplug lawsuits are about.

3M Company is facing thousands of lawsuits filed by veterans and military service members suffering from hearing loss, tinnitus, and other injuries resulting from defective combat arms earplugs used during military combat. 

Those lawsuits accuse 3M of knowingly selling defective earplugs to the United States Military, which distributed them to millions of service members defending the country in combat overseas. 

It has been over a year since veterans and service members began filing individual lawsuits. Here’s where the litigation stands.  

Lawsuits Consolidated in Florida Federal Court

Veterans and military service members who suffered injuries after using 3M’s Combat Arms Earplugs began filing lawsuits in 2018 against the company. These lawsuits accuse 3M of designing a defective product and failing to warn about its risks. 

On April 3, 2019, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) ruled to consolidate all federally filed lawsuits in the same court. At the time, 8 actions were coordinated in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, with U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers presiding. 

As of August 2019, more than 2,000 lawsuits were involved in the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs multidistrict litigation (MDL). That number is likely to rise as more veterans and service members speak out against 3M. 

3M combat arms earplugs litigation

‘Science Day’ in Court

The lawsuits against 3M accuse the company of selling a defective product that led to hearing loss and other injuries. Many of these lawsuits involve veterans who now suffer from tinnitus, the perception of noise or ringing in the ears. Tinnitus isn’t a condition itself, but a symptom of an underlying condition, such as an injury to the ear.

In order to learn more about how the earplugs worked or failed to work, U.S. District Judge Rodgers ordered to hold a “Science Day” on Aug. 26, 2019. In a pretrial order, she ruled that each side would have time to summarize their case theories in terms of the alleged product defects. 

Then, up to three speakers would be allowed to present general information about the scientific aspects of the lawsuits. This included: 

  • sound properties and measurement
  • how sound is perceived by the human ear
  • the science of hearing loss
  • hearing examination protocols, including methods for causal attribution of hearing loss
  • hearing protection devices generally and their evolution
  • considerations regarding selection of hearing protection devices
  • standards and procedures for testing hearing protection devices
  • and any unique testing protocols that were required for the 3M Combat Arms Earplug

The minutes from Science Day had not been made publicly available as of Sept. 10, 2019. 

3M combat arms earplugs


The Minnesota-based conglomerate 3M Company made millions of dollars in a contract with the United States Military, selling earplugs used for military combat overseas. The company came under fire in 2015 when it was revealed that those earplugs, called dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs, didn’t work. 

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released a study in 2015 revealing that more than 1 million veterans were receiving disability compensation for hearing loss, and another 1.6 million were receiving compensation for the hearing condition tinnitus. 

In 2018, 3M agreed to pay $9,100,000 to the federal government after it was revealed the company  knowingly sold defective earplugs to the military. The earplugs sold by the company were apparently too short to effectively protect soldiers’ hearing during combat. According to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, 3M knew the earplugs were defective before it sold the product to the military. 

Soon after the company settled with the federal government, veterans and service members began filing their own lawsuits against 3M. 

3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuits

3M Combat Arms Earplugs Lawsuits accuse 3M of designing a defective product and failing to warn about its potential risks. 

If you or a loved one used 3M’s Combat Arms Earplugs during deployment between 2003 and 2015, you may be entitled to financial compensation. There may be significant payouts and cash settlements awarded to those affected by the product.

Call the experienced lawyers at Schmidt National Law Group today at 800-631-5656 to see if qualify for a 3M Combat Arms Earplug injury claim.

3M Combat Earplug lawsuit page updated June 18, 2021.