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3M, the Military and Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2


On August 29, 2023, 3M announced that it reached an agreement with the court-appointed negotiating plaintiffs' counsel to resolve the Combat Arms Earplug litigation against Aearo Technologies (Aearo) and 3M.

About the Product

The Combat Arms Earplugs product was developed by Aearo Technologies for the U.S. military prior to 3M’s acquisition of Aearo in 2008, and was sold from 1999 until 2015.

This product offered protection from high-level impulse noises, such as gunfire, while allowing users to hear lower-level sounds, like speech. When used properly, this product was safe and effective for its intended purpose.

However, since 2019, 3M and Aearo have faced litigation from individuals alleging hearing injury.

About the Resolution

The Combat Arms Settlement Agreement was reached through a mediation process involving mediators appointed by the federal and state courts, and the negotiating plaintiffs’ counsel appointed by the courts. The agreement is structured to promote participation by claimants and to help provide greater certainty and finality for all involved.

Out of a total of almost 293,000 claims, more than 249,000 claimants have registered to participate in the settlement. In addition, nearly 42,000 claims have been dismissed by the courts administering the agreements. Once all settlement registrations have been validated, 3M anticipates that the settlement will have achieved a more than 99.9% participation level.

 Under the terms of the settlement agreement, 3M will contribute up to $6.0 billion between 2023 and 2029 upon satisfaction of certain participation levels as set for the in the settlement agreement.  As the participation now exceeds some of the required thresholds in the settlement agreement, 3M will make payments starting in 2024 and through 2029 pursuant to the timeline established in the agreement.

Pre-Tax Contingent Liability Payments ($B)*









Combat Arms Settlement









*Assuming all participation levels are satisfied

Additional Information

Aearo and 3M are actively engaged in insurance recovery activities to offset a portion of the settlement payments. Formal recovery processes are underway through a lawsuit filed in Delaware, as well as arbitration proceedings.

Additional details of the agreement are available in 3M's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

To learn more, visit

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