3M Pays Multi-Billion Dollar Settlement for Defective Earplugs

Throughout life, there are some products that you need to rely on for your own protection and well-being. One example is earplugs. When you’re in a loud environment, you depend on earplugs to prevent your ears from taking damage. This is particularly true for military personnel. They are consistently exposed to the loud noise produced by firearms and they depend on their hear protection to prevent noise-induced hearing loss, or “NIHL”.

If the damage to your hearing is severe enough, there is no recovering it. Repeated exposure compounds the issue. Loud sounds enter your ear and make their way to your cochlea. In your cochlea you have specialized hair cells called stereocilia that bend in response to the vibration. After a short period, they will straighten out again. This is why after a concert or loud event, you may have temporary partial hearing loss. However, if the vibration is too intense, it may cause these cells to die. If enough cells die, you may have permanent hearing loss or tinnitus.

These veterans were told that the earplugs they were given would muffle the loud, damaging sounds, while allowing them to hear the quieter sounds like speech. This would be a useful product for them, but unfortunately over 200,000 veteran allege that it did not work as intended for them. That’s why 3M is now involved in the largest mass tort litigation that we’ve seen in American history.

This is considered a “product liability” case. Our Broward County attorneys have extensive experience handling product liability cases, including lithium laptop batteries, medical devices, and dangerous prescription drugs.

If you or someone you know was injured by a defective or dangerous product. Contact us today for assistance navigating the complexity of product liability cases.