SAN ANTONIO — Manufacturing giant 3M is facing lawsuits over required protective earplugs for the military.
- Plaintiffs claim 3M knowingly distributed faulty earplugs to military
- Earplugs were mandatory from 2003 to 2015
- If centralized, court proceedings could take place in San Antonio
Attorneys say the company knew the gear was defective while they were giving them to soldiers. A whistle blower told the federal government that those earplugs did not meet standards and 3M knew it.
Now, hundreds of soldiers across the country have filed suits against the Minnesota-based conglomerate.
Lawyers with Phipps Deacon Purnell tell us tens or even hundreds of thousands more could file in the coming months.
The earplugs were mandatory for U.S. soldiers from 2003 to 2015.
A judicial panel will decide whether all those lawsuits can be centralized and some think San Antonio may be the best location for those court proceedings to play out.
“San Antonio is Military City USA and no community in the country has a similar appreciation for the importance of the military, the cultural and economic impact of the military of San Antonio,” said T.J. Mayes of Phipps Deacon Purnell PLLC. “It outpaces everywhere else in the country. These cases will be consolidated by a federal judicial panel later this month and we want to make sure they are consolidated here.”
3M has already paid the federal government $9 million in a settlement but the solders who actually wore that gear never received any compensation.
In a statement, 3M says they “deny this product was defectively designed.”