Veterans sue 3M Co. over defective earplugs

By David Ibanez - Web - Managing Editor

Attorneys representing veterans in San Antonio who claim to be affected by defective earplugs announced a new lawsuit Thursday against multinational conglomerate corporation 3M Co. 

The lawsuit was filed at the federal courthouse in San Antonio by Phipps Deacon Purnell PLLC, which is representing soldiers who claim they are entitled to damages. 

In 2018, 3M paid the U.S. Department of Justice $9.1 million to settle False Claims Act allegations that it knowingly sold earplugs to the United States military without disclosing defects that hampered the effectiveness of the earplugs. 

The law firm claims the settlement money does not compensate troops for harm incurred by the faulty earplugs and they are therefore suing.

"Soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines -- everybody that served in the U.S. armed forces between 2003 and 2015. They were fighting for our freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they were provided faulty products by a company who knew they were faulty," said T.J. Mayes, of Phipps Deacon Purnell PLLC.

Service members are filing claims at federal courthouses across the country. 

The United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will decide later this month whether the actions pending throughout the country should be centralized in one court, and if so, which court is best suited to oversee the litigation. 

Mayes said that, since San Antonio is known as Military City USA, the law firm believes the claims should be heard here.

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