HOUSTON, May 6, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The national civil trial law firm Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC has filed a lawsuit in federal court against 3M Company, the Minnesota-based manufacturer behind allegedly faulty CAEv2 earplugs that have been linked to a settled False Claims Act case, and various hearing-related injuries suffered by the U.S. service members who used them.
The suit was filed Friday, May 3, 2019 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas (Case No. 19-cv-1630). It claims 3M was negligent in failing to prevent injuries associated with earplugs it knew were defective, and willfully engaged in deceptive and misleading acts.
Veteran Diagnosed with Service-Connected Hearing Loss
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a U.S. Army Veteran and Harris County resident who joined the military at the age of 18 in October 2005. An otherwise healthy individual with no prior signs of hearing-related health issues, the Plaintiff was twice deployed for active duty in Iraq; once in 2006 for 15 months, and again in 2009 for 12 months, according to the suit.
Like thousands of other service members enlisted in the U.S. military between the years of 2003 and 2015, the Plaintiff used standard-issue 3M Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) during his active duty tours, as well as during pre-deployment training exercises at Fort Hood.
As the complaint notes, the Plaintiff began suffering from noise-induced hearing problems, and was eventually diagnosed with service-connected hearing loss and tinnitus, a condition characterized by ringing in the ears. He was discharged from the military in July 2010.
3M Knowingly Provided Defective Earplugs, Suit Claims
In the suit, it's alleged 3M Company – which acquired the original earplug manufacturer in 2008 (Aero) and which reached a $9.1M settlement in 2018 to resolve allegations from the federal government that it knowingly supplied defective earplugs to the U.S. military – knew CAEv2 failed to provide adequate hearing protection as intended.
The complaint alleges negligence and product defects, and includes claims that:
- 3M earplugs were defectively designed so as to prevent a snug fit in the ear canal;
- Fitting instructions provided by 3M resulted in inadequate protection and losing of the seal within the ear canal when followed;
- 3M failed to provide adequate warning about inherent defects;
- 3M / Aero was made aware of defects associated with CAEv2 earplugs after performing initial testing in 2000, and misrepresented test results
In addition to claims of negligence, design defects, strict liability, and failure to warn, the complaint also claims breach of implied and express warranties, fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, and fraud and deceit. It seeks compensatory damages for the Plaintiffs' economic and non-economic damages, as well as punitive damages.
Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC is a Texas-based National Trial Law Firm that's earned recognition for its work handling complex and high-stakes civil injury and product liability claims across the country. Since its founding, the firm has cultivated a record of success in cases against some of the nation's largest corporations, with proven results in matters involving defective consumer products, drugs, and medical devices, asbestos exposure and mesothelioma, and violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. More about the firm can be found at www.bchlaw.com.
SOURCE Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC