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October 25, 2019

Litigation Establishes Streamlined Process for Filing 3M Earplug Lawsuits

New Forms to help address increasing numbers of earplug lawsuits filed by injured soldiers.

A new Master and Short Form Complaint has been approved by the U.S. District Judge presiding over all federal 3M Combat Arms earplug lawsuits. These forms are designed to ease the process of filing claims over 3M’s dangerously defective earplugs, which have allegedly contributed to the hearing problems of veterans across the nation.

On October 16, Judge Casey Rodgers issued a pretrial order approving the use of a Master Complaint and Short Form Complaint to handle the increasing number of claims filed over hearing injuries caused by Combat Arms earplugs. These forms can be used by 3M earplug injury lawyers and injured military members to bring forward new 3M earplug lawsuits.

The use of these forms helps simplify the process of filing new 3M earplug claims. The Master Long Form Complaint lists different allegations and requests for recovery brought in the earplug lawsuits. Plaintiffs select the claims relevant to their case and present them through a separate Short Form Complaint, which must be filed with each case.

Complex product liability lawsuits like the one 3M faces over their allegedly defective earplugs commonly use Master and Short Form complaints to help parties organize, evaluate, and categorize the different claims brought forth by plaintiffs.

However, if a 3M earplug settlement is not reached after MDL proceedings, each earplug lawsuits will be remanded back to the courts they were filed in for future individual trial dates.

3M Combat Arms Earplug Lawsuits

There are around 600 product liability lawsuits currently pending in the 3M Combat Arms litigation centralized in the Northern District of Florida. Each of these lawsuits bring similar claims that 3M’s dual-sided Combat Arms Earplug contained design flaws which caused the hearing injuries of soldiers across the US.

These earplugs were actively used by the U.S. military from 2003 – 2015 in all branches of the military. Injured servicemembers claim the 3M earplugs failed to provide adequate ear protect, resulting in soldiers being diagnosed with hearing loss, tinnitus, and other hearing-related injuries. Some claims even allege that 3M Company knew for years that the earplugs were defective and failed to notify the military.

3M reached a $9.1 million settlement with the Department of Justice over the Combat Arms earplugs in July 2018, resolving claims that it defrauded the U.S. government by knowingly selling the military defective earplugs.

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