Judge blocks defense 3M planned to use in earplug lawsuit

Updated: July 28, 2020 09:11 AM
Created: July 27, 2020 08:44 PM

Friday, a federal judge blocked a legal defense 3M planned in a lawsuit over its earplugs. 

Veterans across the country, including dozens from Minnesota, accused the Maplewood-based company of selling the military "dangerously defective" earplugs that failed to protect Marines and soldiers from long-term hearing-related disabilities.

Minnesota veterans blame 3M's 'defective' earplugs for hearing damage

The company invoked the government contract defense, which shields companies from liability for defects in products designed and developed for the federal government. 

However, the judge's ruling says the design for the earplugs were created without input from the Army. 

3M issued the following statement on the matter: 

"The parties' cross-motions on the government contractor defense were part of this litigation's preliminary proceedings aimed at determining whether the plaintiffs' claims fail as a threshold matter based on the current record. We are reviewing our options with respect to the Court's decision, continuing to take discovery, and look forward to proving our case at trial. We remain confident the evidence will show that the CAEv2 product, which was developed in response to the U.S. military's request and based on its own specifications and testing, was not defective and did not cause injuries."

Last year, 3M denied the claims the product was defective and said they would vigorously defend itself against allegations in the lawsuit.  

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