3M to pay $9.1m to settle claims it sold defective earplugs


The US multinational 3M has agreed to a $9.1m payment to end a dispute over allegations it knowingly sold defective combat ear plugs to the U.S. military.

3M to pay $9.1m to settle claims it sold defective earplugs

The allegations suggested 3M did not disclose defects that limited the effectiveness of the hearing protection devices, and that the plugs sold to the military by 3M and its predecessor, Aearo Technologies Inc., were too short for effective usage in the ears of some people.

The news agency, Reuters, reported Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad Readler as claiming the agreement shows that “government contractors who seek to profit at the expense of our military will face appropriate consequences.”

Meanwhile, an individual lawsuit against 3M was filed by a military veteran just days after the settlement’s announcement. Former Army Sergeant Scott D. Rowe, who was stationed at the Fort Hood base in Killeen, Texas, is suing the manufacturer for knowingly designing, making, and selling defective dual-ended Combat Arms earplugs without warning the users about any defects.

Rowe, an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran suffers from hearing loss, tinnitus, and poor balance. The Killeen Daily Herald reports that he is suing for an unspecified amount of damages “including the cost of past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, physical disfigurement, physical impairment, mental anguish and loss of wages and earning capacity.”

The newspaper quotes Rowe’s Houston-based lawyer, Mo Aziz, as saying: “Sgt. Rowe’s lawsuit is his first step to hold 3M accountable for his lifelong tinnitus condition.Veterans injured by 3M’s conduct have similar legal rights.”

Source: Reuters/Killeen Daily Herald