3M Agrees to $6 Billion Settlement Over Defective Earplugs
The 3M Company has agreed to a $6 billion settlement to resolve approximately 300,000 lawsuits against the company as a result of its allegedly defective earplugs. These lawsuits arose from members of the U.S. military who used the earplugs during their service, who subsequently suffered hearing damage allegedly related to the failure of the earplugs to protect them. 3M will not have to admit guilt or any wrongdoing as a part of this settlement.
What is 3M?
3M is a multinational manufacturing corporation that creates a wide variety of consumer and commercial products. These include, but are not limited to: adhesives, building materials, car parts, electronics, cleaning supplies, lab supplies, office supplies, and medical equipment. The company made approximately $34 billion in revenue last year as a result of its various products.
What Were These Earplugs?
The earplugs in question were the “Combat Arms Earplugs” produced by Aearo Technologies, which 3M acquired in 2008. They were produced to be used by members of the armed services to protect against loud noises, including the sounds of gunfire, explosions, and other sounds that could damage their hearing. They were used by hundreds of thousands of members of the military over the course of their production.
How Did These Earplugs Harm People?
The earplugs had a defect that could cause them to come loose inside a person’s ear while they were in use. This substantially reduced the protective qualities of the earplug, meaning that many people who relied upon them to protect their hearing subsequently suffered hearing loss. Worse still, 3M supposedly knew of this defect and continued to sell it for years afterwards, regardless of its inadequate protection.
What Does This Mean For the Victims?
As a result of this settlement, all 300,000 or so lawsuits against 3M for these earplugs will be dismissed. The company will need to pay $6 billion, including $5 billion in cash and $1 billion in 3M stock. Meanwhile, the company itself will not need to publicly admit to any wrongdoing, and it continues to assert that its products are safe and effective when used properly.
If you or someone you love has been injured due to someone else’s negligence, seeking the advice from an attorney experienced in personal injury law will help assure you get the compensation you deserve. The lawyers at Levine and Slavit, PLLC assist clients in New York City and Long Island in obtaining the damages they need to cope with being the victim of negligence. For more information or to schedule a consultation with our New York personal injury lawyers, call (888) LAW-8088 or fill out our contact form.