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The Underlying Whistleblower Lawsuit Against 3M

On May 12, 2016, Moldex-Metric, Inc. ("Moldex"), in the name of the United States Government, filed a lawsuit against 3M company for false statements it made to the government regarding the safety of the dual-ended Combat Arms Earplug (Version 2), which 3M sold to the U.S. Military for over 10 years. The Government, through Moldex, claimed that 3M knowingly sold the government Combat Arms Earplug (Version 2) that 3M knew did not work properly. In fact, Moldex claimed that 3M employees were aware that 3M's Combat Arms Earplugs did not work as safely at 3M claimed as early as 2000. Specifically, amongst many allegations, Moldex, asserted that 3M or its affiliated companies knowingly sold Combat Arms Earplug (Version 2) to the military without disclosing that the design of the earplugs were defective, the testing of the earplugs 3M relied on were flawed, and that the noise reduction rating that 3M claimed for the earplugs was not accurate. 

On July 25, 2018, a settlement agreement was filed between the United States Government, 3M and Moldex to resolve the allegations that 3M knowingly sold the dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2) to the U.S. military without disclosing defects that reduced the effectiveness of the hearing protection device. In the settlement agreement, the United States alleged the following:

"Prior to delivering the CAEv2 to the United States, the United States alleges that 3M, and its predecessor Aearo, knew that the CAEv2 was too short for proper insertion in users' ears and, therefore, did not perform as well in certain individuals. Additionally, the United States alleges that 3M did not disclose this information to the United States and delivered the CAEv2 to the United States knowing that the product contained defects that impaired the CAEv2's serviceability."

While 3M denied the allegations in the settlement agreement, 3M agreed to pay $9,100,000.00 to settle the claims against it. On July 26, 2018, the Department of Justice, issued a press release stating:

"Through rigorous enforcement of the False Claims Act, we protect taxpayer dollars from waste, fraud, and abuse," said U. S. Attorney Sherri Lydon for the District of South Carolina. "And in this case in particular, we are proud to defend the integrity of our military programs and ensure that our men and women in uniform are adequately protected as they serve our country."

For more information about the terms of the settlement between the U.S. government and 3M, please click on the following links.

July 26, 2018 Department of Justice Press Release:

https://images.law.com/contrib/content/uploads/documents/292/39948/3M-Earplug-Suits-DOJ-settlement-agreement.pdf

July 25, 2018, Settlement Agreement:

https://images.law.com/contrib/content/uploads/documents/292/39948/3M-Earplug-Suits-DOJ-settlement-agreement.pdf

 

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