3M moves up payment for service members in earplug settlement

3M says it will pay out settlement funds sooner than initially expected as part of the massive case over allegedly defective military earplugs.

The Minnesota-based chemical and consumer product manufacturer reached a $6 billion settlement back in August after more than a quarter million veterans and active service members sued, saying they experienced hearing loss or other serious injuries due to the faulty earplugs.

3M made a $250 million payment to the settlement fund late last month and announced on Monday that it “will accelerate” the next payment of $253.1 million to on or before Jan. 31.

“All the remaining ‘wave’ plaintiffs, whose claims were being prepared for trial prior to the settlement agreement, have now agreed to participate in the settlement and release their claims. 3M recognizes this strong support and 100% participation of the remaining wave claimants and has amended the existing settlement agreement timing,” the company said in its announcement.

“On behalf of all of the plaintiffs in this litigation, most of whom are veterans or active duty service members, we are pleased with 3M’s decision to accelerate the payment of the settlement funds. The settlement is receiving overwhelming support and we appreciate 3M’s commitment to the settlement process,” Bryan Aylstock, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS on Thursday.

Prior to this settlement, 3M agreed to pay $9.1 million in 2018 to settle a lawsuit on behalf of the government alleging the company knowingly supplied defective earplugs to the U.S. military. There was no determination of liability in the agreement.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.