NASHVILLE, Tenn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–On May 22, 2019, Judge M. Casey Rodgers of the U.S. District Court for
the Northern District of Florida issued an order naming Lieff Cabraser
partner Kenny S. Byrd to the Early Vetting Committee in the nationwide
product defect lawsuit against 3M relating to allegations that for over
a decade, 3M provided defective earplugs to men and women in the U.S.
military. Complaints in numerous lawsuits allege that the ear plugs,
distributed between 2002 and 2015, were too short for proper insertion
into users’ ears, putting users at risk for permanent hearing loss,
hearing impairment, and tinnitus.
In July 2018, the Department of Justice announced that 3M Company had
agreed to pay $9.1 million to resolve allegations that it knowingly sold
the dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2) to the United
States military without disclosing defects that hampered the
effectiveness of the hearing protection devices. The now-discontinued
dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs were standard-issued equipment for
Afghanistan and Iraq soldiers serving between 2002 and 2015.
Specifically, the United States alleged that 3M, and its predecessor,
Aearo Technologies, Inc., knew the CAEv2 earplugs were too short for
proper insertion into users’ ears, and that the plugs could loosen
imperceptibly and therefore did not perform well for certain
individuals. The United States further alleged that 3M did not disclose
this design defect to the military.
“This is a wholesale breach of the public trust,” notes Byrd. “These men
and women were deployed in the U.S. armed forces to defend our country.
While protecting the U.S., they were outfitted with allegedly defective
combat earplugs, which led to irreparable hearing loss and debilitating,
permanent tinnitus. That wrong needs to be made right for each and every
Lieff Cabraser was among a number of U.S. law firms that filed lawsuits
against 3M on behalf of the injured and defrauded servicemen and
servicewomen. The lawsuits were aggregated in federal court in Florida
into a multidistrict litigation, Case No. 3:19md2885 in the U.S.
District Court for the Northern District of Florida, and Judge Rodgers’
May 22, 2019 Order No. 7 sets forth the attorney leadership structure
for that litigation.
If you are a soldier who experienced hearing loss after serving in Iraq
or Afghanistan between 2002 and 2015, we encourage you to contact an
experienced personal injury lawyer at Lieff Cabraser today. You can
reach our Nashville, TN office toll-free at 1 866-313-1973 for a free,
no-obligation, confidential review of your case — ask to speak to firm
partners Kenny Byrd or Mark Chalos to learn
more about the lawsuits, your rights, and any potential recovery.
Kenny S. Byrd
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP