About the CAEv2 Litigation

The CAEv2 product is currently the subject of litigation and recent media reporting. We are vigorously defending our record and demonstrating the CAEv2 product was effective and safe to use.

In July 2018, 3M chose to settle claims brought by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) about the CAEv2 product to avoid the time and expense of litigation. In doing so, the company did not admit any wrongdoing.

Since the settlement with the DOJ, numerous lawsuits have been filed on behalf of veterans and others alleging that the CAEv2 product was defective and caused various injuries. Most cases have been transferred to multi-district litigation (“MDL”) proceedings before Judge Casey Rodgers in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida. There are also cases pending in state court in Hennepin County, Minnesota, involving non-military plaintiffs that are separate from the bellwether process.

We assert that the CAEv2 product was effective and safe to use, and our conduct was consistent with our longtime commitment to keeping our service members safe. Multiple juries have issued verdicts in favor of 3M and the United States Chamber of Commerce filed an amicus brief in support of our appeals. We have supplied Combat Arms Earplugs to the U.S. military for more than a decade and continue to do so. We remain confident in our case.

On July 26, 2022, Aearo Technologies and related entities (“Aearo Technologies”), all of which are wholly-owned 3M subsidiaries, voluntarily initiated chapter 11 proceedings to resolve claims related to Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2. The well-established chapter 11 process is intended to achieve an efficient and equitable resolution, reduce uncertainty, and increase clarity for all stakeholders, while reducing the cost and time that could otherwise be required to litigate tens of thousands of cases. 3M and its other businesses have not filed for chapter 11 and will continue to operate as usual. Aearo Technologies, an otherwise healthy business, will also continue to operate in the ordinary course. To learn more about the chapter 11 proceedings, click here www.resolvingearpluglitigation.com.

Court filings and information about the chapter 11 cases are available on a separate website administered by Aearo Technologies’ claims agent, Kroll Restructuring Administration, at https://restructuring.ra.kroll.com/aearotechnologies. Information is also available by calling (855) 639-3375 (Toll-Free US/Canada) or +1 (347) 897-3818 (International); or by emailing [email protected].

You can read about the latest updates and news here.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is happening in the litigation?

  • On July 26, 2022, Aearo Technologies and related entities (“Aearo Technologies”), all of which are wholly-owned 3M subsidiaries, voluntarily initiated chapter 11 proceedings to resolve claims related to Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2.
  • The well-established chapter 11 process is intended to achieve an efficient and equitable resolution, reduce uncertainty, and increase clarity for all stakeholders, while reducing the cost and time that could otherwise be required to litigate thousands of cases.
  • 3M and its other businesses have not filed for chapter 11 and will continue to operate as usual. Aearo Technologies will also continue to operate in the ordinary course.
  • You can read the latest updates here.

2. What is a bellwether trial?

  • A bellwether trial is essentially a test case intended to establish a common set of key facts and issues. This is a common practice in multi-district-litigation (“MDL”).
  • Both sides select potential bellwether trial cases, and the Court ultimately chooses a set of cases to be tried.
  • A decision on one or more bellwether cases is not the end of a particular MDL proceeding but can help inform the course of the litigation.

3. Is the CAEv2 product defective?

  • No. The CAEv2 product was effective and safe to use.
  • The company worked in close coordination with the U.S. military on the CAEv2 product, and its design reflected features requested and accepted by individuals acting on the military’s behalf.

4. What is your defense based on?

  • 3M’s defense is rooted in the fact that the CAEv2 product was effective and safe to use, and our conduct was consistent with the company’s values and our longtime commitment to keeping our U.S. service members safe.
  • The company worked in close coordination with the U.S. military on the CAEv2 product, and its design reflected features requested and accepted by individuals acting on the military’s behalf. For years, the CAEv2 product was repeatedly tested by groups within the U.S. military and found to have met its expectations.
  • 3M shared information with the U.S. military about the importance of proper fitting of the CAEv2 product, and the military requested that it be responsible for providing fitting instructions to service members. When used according to those fitting instructions, the CAEv2 product helped provide hearing protection to service members in combat environments.
  • In some situations, such as combat scenarios, it is undisputed that even robust protection cannot prevent some hearing loss.

5. What do the outcomes thus far mean?

  • We believe the varied verdicts so far and the issues that will be decided on appeal affirm our confidence in our case and show that plaintiffs face significant challenges in this litigation.
  • Juries differ and each case must be proved on its individual facts. Our successes thus far illustrate the heavy burden plaintiffs must meet in proving the elements of their claims. Plaintiffs must prove, that they are in fact injured, that those claimed injuries were actually caused by the CAEv2 product, and that the CAEv2 product was defective.
  • In addition, we do not yet know how many plaintiffs’ claims will be subject to litigation. What we do know for certain is that the universe of those cases is smaller than the number of claims plaintiffs’ counsel has placed on the administrative docket and cited in media materials. The number of claims in large, multi-district litigations (MDLs), like this one, often reflect the aggressive advertising and recruitment campaigns waged by the plaintiffs’ bar, and not the legal and factual merits of the case.

6. What will happen after the bellwether cases are over?

  • Per Judge Rogers’ ruling in August 2021, all claims on the administrative docket must be moved to the active litigation docket or dismissed without prejudice.
  • There are 1,000 additional cases that are currently being prepared for trial, and an additional 500 cases may be added. These cases will ultimately be transferred to the district courts where they originated. These cases are supposed to be prepared for trial in waves of 500, and the first two waves are in process.