On August 28, 2023, 3M entered into a global settlement to resolve nearly 250,000 cases involving its Combat Arms earplugs. Those cases have been pending in the Middle District of Florida since 2019. The $6 billion global settlement will be funded by 3M over the course of several years. Plaintiffs who have suffered certain hearing-related injuries will receive settlement awards. Those awards will vary depending on the injuries incurred as well as the severity of those injuries. Additional information pertaining to the amount and timing of the settlement offers will be made available soon.
Aero Technologies, a subsidiary of 3M and the company that made the earplugs, filed a Petition for Relief under Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Southern District of Indiana. They are asking the Court to allow them to create a trust fund to settle the 230,000 earplug claims pending against them in the MDL. 3M has stated that the bankruptcy will enable them to settle the earplug lawsuits more efficiently, but we do not agree with this assertion and will be challenging the legality of the bankruptcy.
“On Tuesday, July 26, 2022, 3M announced that it will seek to resolve the earplug claims in bankruptcy court.”
Military personnel are exposed to high levels of noise frequently, and this has led to hearing loss and tinnitus being the second most prevalent service-related disability. 3M’s actions could have contributed to these numbers. Military Medical Research,(link below), provides a report of the extent of the hearing loss problems.
Hearing Loss widespread Among Post-9/11 Veterans; the most widespread injury for veterans has been hearing loss and other auditory complications.
Hearing problems—including tinnitus—are by far the most prevalent service-connected disability among American Veterans.