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  • 3M to Pay $9.1 Million Settlement for Selling Defective Earplugs to Military.
    1 Aug , 2018















    3M to Pay $9.1 Million Settlement for Selling Defective Earplugs to Military.


    On July 25, the Department of Justice announced in a press release that 3M Company (3M), St Paul, Minn, has agreed to pay $9.1 million to resolve allegations that it knowingly sold the dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2) to the United States military without disclosing defects that hampered the effectiveness of the hearing protection device.

    The settlement reportedly resolves allegations that 3M violated the False Claims Act by selling or causing to be sold defective earplugs to the Defense Logistics Agency. Specifically, United States ex rel. Moldex-Metric v. 3M Company alleged that 3M, and its predecessor, Aearo Technologies Inc, knew the CAEv2 was too short for proper insertion into users’ ears and that the earplugs could loosen imperceptibly and therefore did not perform well for certain individuals.

    The United States further alleged that 3M did not disclose this design defect to the military. The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability, said the press release.

    The allegations resolved by the settlement were brought in a lawsuit filed under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act. The act permits private parties to sue on behalf of the government when they believe that defendants submitted false claims for government funds and to share in any recovery. As part of the case’s resolution, the whistleblower will receive $1,911,000.

    The settlement was the result of a coordinated effort by the Civil Division of the Department of Justice, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina, the Army Criminal Investigation Command, and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service.

    “The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the men and women serving in the United States military from defective products and fraudulent conduct,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Department’s Civil Division. “Government contractors who seek to profit at the expense of our military will face appropriate consequences.”

    “Today’s settlement will ensure that those who do business with the government know that their actions will not go unnoticed,” said Frank Robey, director of the US Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit. “Properly made safety equipment, for use by our soldiers, is vital to our military’s readiness. Our agents will respond robustly to protect the safety of our military.”

    Source: Department of Justice 
    Image credit: 3M, Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs