3M Combat Arms Earplug Settlement Identification Phase Complete, and Submission of Eligible Claimant Registration Forms Will Soon Begin
A federal judge has determined that process for identifying all potential claimants who may participate in a recent $6 billion 3M Combat Arms earplug lawsuit settlement agreement has been completed, and the next phase will soon begin, allowing plaintiffs to submit registration forms to obtain compensation for hearing loss and tinnitus injuries.
The settlement seeks to resolve nearly 300,000 product liability lawsuits brought against 3M Company by U.S. military veterans, who say they suffered permanent hearing damage due to alleged design defects with the company’s Combat Arms earplugs, which were standard military issue for all service members between 2003 and 2015.
The veterans claim 3M Company, and it’s Aero Technologies subsidiary, knew the earplugs failed to properly seal the ear canal, yet continued to sell their product to the U.S. government, causing service members to be left without adequate ear protection during combat and training exercises.
Given common questions of fact and law raised in the litigation, all claims brought throughout the federal court system have been centralized for the past three and a half years before U.S. District Judge Casey Rodgers in the Northern District of Florida, as part of an MDL or multidistrict litigation.
Following a series of massive damage awards returned by juries in early cases that went to trial in the MDL, the manufacturer decided to pursue a controversial 3M earplug lawsuit bankruptcy plan last year, attempting to put its fully owned subsidiary Aearo Technologies into bankruptcy, even though 3M is a multi-billion dollar parent company that is well funded and directly profited from sale of the earplugs for years.
However, federal courts repeatedly shot down the earplug manufacturer’s attempts, saying the filings were not made in good faith, and that the company faced no financial distress from the lawsuits that would warrant bankruptcy protection.
3M Combat Arms Earplug Settlement
With thousands of potential trials likely to be scheduled over the next year, which could result in massive liability awards, 3M Company offered a $6 billion Combat Arms earplug lawsuit settlement (PDF) on August 28, which seeks to resolve the litigation and prevent the federal court system from being flooded with hundreds of thousands of trials in the coming years. However, there remain some questions about whether enough individual plaintiffs will agree to accept the settlement, which would be paid over the course of five years.
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In the days after the settlement was announced, Judge Rodgers issued a case management order (PDF) detailing how the Court intended to protect plaintiffs from predatory settlement lending companies, which often advance money at extremely high interest rates once a settlement is announced. In addition, the Court also issued an order (PDF) describing how those who do not wish to participate in the settlement can proceed with individual lawsuits.
On September 23, the latest 3M earplug settlement update was issued by the Court, announcing in a case management order (PDF) that the identification phase of the program is now complete. Judge Rodgers indicated that the “process for Eligible Claimants to submit Registration Forms, including required signatures and attachments, will soon begin.”
Earplug Settlement Amount Concerns
While the parties move forward with the settlement claim process, there remain questions over whether enough veterans will approve of the deal to sign on.
Plaintiffs have six months from August 29 to accept or opt-out of the agreement, however some have questioned whether the settlement amount, which comes to about $24,000 per plaintiff paid out across five years, is adequate to address permanent hearing loss and tinnitus injuries. If less than 98% of plaintiffs agree to the settlement, the deal may fall apart.
AntonioNovember 12, 2023 at 8:29 am
The VA said My hearing loss and tinnitus is not from the military because I was a construction worker all my life. does this disqualify me .
RogerOctober 25, 2023 at 12:14 am
Decline the slap in the face payments!!
TOctober 8, 2023 at 5:02 pm
I didn't disarm all those IEDs to be screwed over by greedy 3M fat cats and lawyers doing the bare minimum for a fat pay day. I'm not accepting the settlement. I have literally constant high pitched ringing in my left ear that doesn't abate. I'll cut my pound of flesh myself since this "K group" seems to be settling for bat shit that 3M scraped off their shoes last quarter
JohnOctober 3, 2023 at 8:38 am
Well I for one will not be excepting this settlement. It is absurd to think that I served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan in the compacity of Route Clearance. I have documented tinnitus and severe hearing loss through the VA. A friend of mine was in an auto accident and received $ 80,000 for tinnitus alone. It doesn't make sense but when you add in attorney fees, court costs, future claims,[Show More]Well I for one will not be excepting this settlement. It is absurd to think that I served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan in the compacity of Route Clearance. I have documented tinnitus and severe hearing loss through the VA. A friend of mine was in an auto accident and received $ 80,000 for tinnitus alone. It doesn't make sense but when you add in attorney fees, court costs, future claims, taxes, and I'm sure other fees it don't add up to much. I am very curious on the 1 billion in stock options. Where is that going? As for pay out, they have 6 months from settlement date. So if you think your getting paid before mid 2024, well think again. Good luck in your decisions.
TeresaOctober 3, 2023 at 1:17 am
As a supply NCO in the Army (retired Army now), I was not only damaged by these ineffective earplugs, but I also issued them to Soldiers! $24,000 is a slap in the face compared to what we should be receiving! Tinnitus is no joke! My ears will forever ring...and I feel for the thousands of other brothers and sisters in arms who are faced with this ringing and hearing loss for the rest of their [Show More]As a supply NCO in the Army (retired Army now), I was not only damaged by these ineffective earplugs, but I also issued them to Soldiers! $24,000 is a slap in the face compared to what we should be receiving! Tinnitus is no joke! My ears will forever ring...and I feel for the thousands of other brothers and sisters in arms who are faced with this ringing and hearing loss for the rest of their lives!
AliOctober 2, 2023 at 9:57 am
I used 3m earplugs for 4 years since 2010 to 2014
NamawejjeOctober 2, 2023 at 6:13 am
Am just glad that time for completing the compensation is due to get finished.
KennethOctober 1, 2023 at 12:49 pm
I was a d o d department of defense mrap mechand Iraq 2008 Losthearing over there, 65% loss in one ear, 35% loss. In the other I have hearing AIDS. All my paperwork is in been documented by all doctors and the Department of Defense. When should I be expecting a check or some contact thank you
MathiasOctober 1, 2023 at 6:11 am
Why should the settlement take five years to complete? ~ If it remains at the span of a period of 5 years, some of the veterans may die without getting their settlement money.
Bamutiina HenryOctober 1, 2023 at 3:31 am
I really appreciate your attention, I'm from Uganda and I'm the one of victim, I've a question are we also as an Ugandan to that program because we follow the case but we see USA veterans only, is will be helpful to have replied
JohnSeptember 30, 2023 at 5:28 pm
Why are they not paying the V.A. these monies to distro according to service member's already documented hearing loss ? No lawyers needed. And no soldier is left out. Sound judgment? Yes. Geez
ErikSeptember 30, 2023 at 5:11 pm
I just read this article and you have got to be kidding me 24,000 that is a direct insult to all the claimants in my eyes. I personally would not settle for this pathetic amount.
GerardoSeptember 30, 2023 at 4:07 pm
I don't know where you went to school, but last time I checked a Billion has 9 zeroes. And about 300.000 vets are involved. You mean to tell the world that each claim is only getting 24 grand? You better get some that knows math because your full of Caca. And you all wonder why we have a hard time trusting people!
DavidSeptember 30, 2023 at 2:13 pm
24k for being permanently hearing impaired when several litigants in the MDL were awarded 10’s of millions ?! These people must think some of us are stupid !
BrianSeptember 30, 2023 at 11:05 am
I have something to add to this if you don't mind. I was affected by this 3m ear plugs , and how do they come up with an average 24,000 pay out for what we have gone through and will for life ? We will never get our hearing back and constantly listen to ringing in our ears. To me it's not right.
JamalSeptember 30, 2023 at 10:59 am
I am a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and I suffer from tinnitus in my ears, and I have try to beco.e part of the 3M claim but with no success. I could not find a law firm that would represent me in the case. Does anyone know if and how I could still become part of this case?
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