On July 26, 2018, according to the United States Department of Justice, 3M agreed to settle government allegations it had knowingly supplied the U.S. military defective ear plugs.
The DOJ press release stated:
The Department of Justice announced today that 3M Company (3M), headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, has agreed to pay $9.1 million to resolve allegations that it knowingly sold the dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2) to the United States military without disclosing defects that hampered the effectiveness of the hearing protection device.
The United States alleged that 3M, and its predecessor, Aearo Technologies, Inc., knew the CAEv2 stem was too short for proper insertion into users’ ears and the earplugs could loosen without the user knowing.
Unfortunately, these ill-fitting ear plugs resulted in thousands of military veterans suffering permanent injuries from tinnitus and loss of hearing.
Numerous governmental agencies were involved in the 3M ear plug lawsuit:
The settlement was the result of a coordinated effort by the Civil Division of the Department of Justice, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina, the Army Criminal Investigation Command, and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service.