Lawsuits: Ear Plug Manufacturer Reportedly Knew Military Plugs Were Faulty
UNITED STATES – According to a news report posted online by militarytimes.com, lawsuits filed around the country claim that an ear plug manufacturer knew that the units it was selling to the U.S. military were faulty. The lawsuits claim that veterans have sustained permanent injuries due to their ears not being protected during combat.*
The lawsuits, which have so far been filed by hundreds of veterans in various states in the nation, state that the ear plugs did not have a fitted seal and were capable of allowing sound to pass through to the ears of military members. The manufacturer of these plugs, 3M, had a contract to be the exclusive seller of ear plugs to the military and reportedly sold more than 15,000 packages of the plugs to the military.
The plugs are cone-shaped at both ends and are supposed to prevent service members from exposure to the damaging sounds of gun, explosions, and other noises in combat. According to the lawsuits filed, the plugs are too short to be properly inserted, and they do not protect people’s ears from hazardous noises.
The veterans who have filed lawsuits against 3M allege that they have suffered lasting hearing loss and life-altering symptoms associated with that hearing loss. They also claim that 3M knew its ear plugs were faulty for years while continuing to sell them to the military.
In another lawsuit that was filed by the U.S. government, 3M agreed to pay $9.1 million over the ear plugs. That suit was filed pursuant to the False Claims Act and alleged that the company sold the ear plugs to the military while knowing that the plugs did not offer full protection and without disclosing that information to the military.
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