3M Earplugs Settlement: Victory for Veterans and Consumers

3M Settlement Over Military Service Members Earplugs and Hearing Loss – Bloomberg

The website discusses 3M’s agreement to pay over $6 billion to consumers and military personnel who claimed that their earplugs were faulty, causing hearing loss, tinnitus, and other hearing-related issues. The class-action lawsuit, represented by lawyers including Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz, Seeger Weiss LLP, and Clark, Love & Hutson, has been hailed as a historic victory for veterans, ensuring justice and compensation.

Between 2023 and 2029, 3M will allocate the funds, with $5 billion in cash and $1 billion in common stock. Despite the settlement, 3M maintains that the agreement doesn’t imply liability and states the earplugs’ safety and effectiveness under proper use.

The litigation revolves around the Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs, CAEv.2, produced by Aearo LLC (acquired by 3M in 2007) from 2003 to 2015. Allegedly, the earplugs could become loose, exposing users to damaging sounds. Users spanned various contexts, including civilian industries, hunting, military service, and firearms training, with many experiencing hearing-related injuries.

The lawsuit highlighted that the defendants used improper testing procedures, distorting Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) labeling test results. This event emphasizes the importance of adhering to proper testing guidelines for hearing protection devices to prevent such issues.

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