Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog
3M Defective Earplugs Lawsuit

Retired Fort Campbell Infantry Soldier Sues 3M Over “Combat Arms” Earplugs Hearing Damage

Lieff Cabraser Partner Mark Chalos Talks to NPR about the growing 3M defective ear plug injury lawsuits

On March 25, 2019, National Public Radio (NPR) interviewed Lieff Cabraser Nashville partner Mark P. Chalos about the growing number of lawsuits filed against 3M over the company’s 10+ year provision of allegedly defective combat ear plugs to men and women serving in the US military. Complaints in the lawsuits by military and ex-military personnel, including large numbers of service men and women from Clarksville’s Fort Campbell and numerous other Tennessee areas including Memphis allege the ear plugs, distributed between 2002 and 2015, were too short for proper insertion into users’ ears, putting users at risk for permanent hearing loss, hearing impairment, and debilitating tinnitus.  According to NPR, “service members used the specially-designed earplugs at firing ranges and while driving in noisy military vehicles. One end was supposed to muffle all sound and the other would block only the loudest concussions.”

George Dooley, a retired Fort Campbell infantryman who used the 3M Combat Arms earplugs while stationed at Fort Campbell, in Germany and when deployed to Iraq in 2006, has joined hundreds of service members suing 3M. Dooley claims he has suffered extensive hearing loss and has experienced chronic ringing in his ears since leaving the Army in 2008. Dooley told NPR “the constant ringing in [his] ears interferes with everyday conversations and affects [his] sleep,” such that he “frequently he has to talk loudly, have the TV playing, or have other noise on so he can try to cope with his tinnitus.”

Lieff Cabraser Partner Mark Chalos, who represents Dooley, has asked the court to consolidate all the current 3M earplug injury cases into a single multidistrict proceeding in Middle Tennessee’s federal court to simplify the logistical and case management issues and to secure justice for the largest number of affected veterans.

“We understand that these earplugs were given to soldiers in the 101st Airborne, so it’s our understanding at this point that Fort Campbell is one of the more seriously impacted facilities in the United States Army,” Chalos noted. The full story is online on the Nashville Public Radio website.

Learn more about the 3M earplug injuries lawsuit and talk to Lieff Cabraser partner Mark Chalos about your case.

About Mark P. Chalos

The managing partner of Lieff Cabraser’s Nashville office, Mark Chalos represents individuals who have suffered catastrophic personal injuries and families whose loved ones died due to the negligence or misconduct of others. Mark represents counties and cities nationwide in the national opioids litigation. He is serving in the national case leadership, including preparing the bellwether cases for trial.

Through jury trials, Chalos has held wrong-doers accountable, including representing 32 school children who were videotaped undressing in their school locker room ($1.28 million jury verdict) and a young woman who suffered a severe brain injury in a car wreck (nearly $4 million jury verdict). He also obtained an $8 million arbitration award on behalf of a business client, and overall has obtained millions of dollars in settlements for families who have been harmed by wrongful conduct.