combat earplugs lawsuit

Legal Update: Defective Earplugs and 3M Lawsuit

Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from guest contributor, and consumer advocate, Joseph Oot

The 3M Company is reportedly facing legal issues once again over their dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2), as veterans and military members across the country are filing lawsuits.

In May 2016, Moldex-Metric filed a lawsuit against 3M on behalf of the U.S. government. The lawsuit attempted to resolve allegations that 3M knowingly sold the U.S. military defective earplugs. In the whistleblower lawsuit, Moldex-Metric highlighted the fact that the standard-issue equipment has defects that greatly diminish the actual effectiveness.

While 3M continues to stand by their military-grade earplugs, the lawsuit ended in a $9.1 million settlement.


More Veterans File Suit Over Hearing Loss & Tinnitus Symptoms


Following the July settlement, thousands of U.S. veterans started filing their own cases against the combat-equipment manufacturer over the injuries they sustained after using the defective protective devices.

In February of 2019, U.S. Army veteran Kelby Rice filed a lawsuit against 3M in Kansas City, Missouri, after using the defective equipment while training at Fort Leonard Wood. Rice also used the CAEv2 earplugs while deployed in Iraq. In January 2019, Rice was diagnosed with tinnitus which contributed to his pain and suffering, growing medical expenses, and loss of wages.

Similar lawsuits span the country from veterans and service members alike, including Army Sgt. Scott D. Rowe of Texas and Joshua M. Keiner of Maryland. Users of the CAEv2 earplugs are reporting symptoms of both moderate and severe hearing damage.

Interested readers can watch this CBS This Morning segment regarding the claims being by veterans across the US.


Joseph Oot is a consumer advocate specializing in consumer legal issues including current litigation surrounding potentially harmful products. His work connects with both local and national organizations, all centered on assisting consumers, researchers, and professionals.
*featured image courtesy DoD

1 Comment

  1. I remember using earplugs which I thought were orange on one end & green on the other? As a Navy Gunners Mate, I was expose to lots of noise, but VA says there is no proof my hearing loss was service related, although they did grant me 10% for tinnitus. I am also currently at 40% for other unrelated disabilities that need updated

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