3M CEO Will Attend Combat Arms Earplug Settlement Negotiations: Court Order

With formal settlement negotiations between 3M Company and hearing loss plaintiffs set to resume, the U.S. District Judge overseeing the 3M multidistrict litigation (MDL) has ordered CEO Mike Roman to participate in the mediation sessions and “engage directly with the mediators.” The goal of the 3M settlement negotiations is to resolve hundreds of thousands of claims by veterans and active-duty service members that the company’s Combat Arms earplugs were defective and caused hearing damage. If you or someone you know experienced hearing loss, tinnitus, or any other hearing issue after using 3M Combat Arms earplugs, contact Consumer Safety Watch right away to find out how we can help. You may have grounds to file an earplug hearing loss lawsuit against 3M, in order to pursue financial compensation for your hearing injuries.

Combat Arms Earplugs Linked to Irreversible Hearing Damage

3M’s allegedly defective Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2) were designed specifically for military use and were supplied to thousands of military service members deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan between 2003 and 2015. The earplugs, originally manufactured by Aearo Technologies before it was acquired by 3M in 2008, were meant to protect users from potentially damaging sounds associated with military training and combat, including weapons fire and explosions. However, lawsuits allege that the earplugs are too short for certain users’ ear canals, which prevents the earplugs from forming a proper seal and effectively protecting the inner ear from damaging sounds. 3M ultimately decided to stop manufacturing the earplugs in 2015, but they were never recalled. 

Given common questions of fact and law raised throughout the litigation, all 3M earplug lawsuits filed in federal courts nationwide have been centralized before U.S. District Judge Casey Rodgers in the Northern District of Florida. Early on in the litigation, juries returned massive verdicts for plaintiffs and each early verdict was appealed by 3M. However, it quickly became clear that the company would not be able to prove to juries that its earplugs were not to blame for thousands of veterans suffering hearing loss, tinnitus, and other debilitating hearing-related symptoms. In a controversial move aimed at minimizing the company’s liability for hearing loss lawsuits, 3M made the decision to place its Aearo Technologies subsidiary into bankruptcy and force the litigation through the bankruptcy court.

3M Accused of Knowingly Selling Defective Earplugs to U.S. Military

There are currently more than 250,000 3M earplug hearing loss lawsuits pending in the federal MDL. Each lawsuit raises similar allegations that 3M manufactured defective military earplugs that failed to provide users with adequate hearing protection and knowingly sold the earplugs to the U.S. military without disclosing the design defect. 3M’s combat earplugs were standard issue for all branches of the military between 2003 and 2015, and thousands of military service members used the earplugs during their military service, for both deployments and training exercises.

Last week, Judge Rodgers called for 3M CEO Mike Roman to participate in talks that were scheduled to take place this week, in an effort to move negotiations forward and hopefully reach a resolution. “Formal mediation was reinstituted for the MDL and Minnesota CAEv2 cases against 3M Company on May 2, 2023, and negotiations toward a global resolution are ongoing,” stated Judge Rodgers in a court order issued on May 19, 2023. “Although these are encouraging developments, the mediation discussions have progressed to a critical juncture where the most senior party representative leaders must be present.” 

Find Out if You Qualify for Compensation for 3M Earplug Injuries

Hundreds of thousands of veterans and military service members have sued 3M over the company’s allegedly defective military earplugs, and so far, the vast majority of the lawsuits remain unresolved. If you or someone you know served in the military between 2003 and 2015 and developed hearing loss, tinnitus, or another devastating hearing problem, you may be entitled to financial compensation for any medical bills or other damages you sustained as a result of your hearing loss. Contact Consumer Safety Watch right away to discuss the possibility of filing a defective earplug hearing loss lawsuit against 3M Company.

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