• More than 100 U.S. veterans suing company that issued 'defective' ear plugs to soldiers

    By: Jeremy Pierre

    Updated:

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A local army veteran wants to hold a company responsible for giving members of the U.S. Army “defective” ear plugs to use in battle.

    In April, a local attorney started a class-action lawsuit against the billion-dollar company 3M, which provided the ear plugs to the United States government for 13 years.

    ORIGINAL STORY: Group of veterans taking legal action against company that issued 'defective' ear plugs to soldiers

    Years after serving the country in the military, Paul McCutchen said he deals with the aftereffects.

    "The main problems are to hear your wife in the other room or hear your daughter outside,” McCutchen said.

    McCutchen said he joined the military two weeks before 9-11. In 2003 he went to Iraq a apart of the 101st Airborne Division.

    McCutchen told FOX13’s Jeremy Pierre the military gave him equipment they told him would offer him the very best protection.

    The military even gave him and other men and women he served with these ear plugs.

    "The main thing with hearing, we were given ear plugs and told to just put them in,” McCutchen said.

    The ear plugs made by 3M is the cause of more than two million veterans dealing with hearing loss, according to the lawsuit.

    Between 2003 and 2015, the United States government contracted the Minneapolis-based company 3M to make the plugs for soldiers.


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    In 2018, the Department of Justice announced a settlement with 3M for more than $9 million to resolve allegations that 3M knowingly sold defective earplugs to the United States Armed Forces.

    Attorney Arron Neglia is representing more than 100 veterans in a class-action lawsuit against 3M.

    "The best way is for veterans speaking up and saying we are not going to allow us to be given faulty equipment,” Neglia said.

    McCutchen said the lawsuit isn’t about money but making sure no young man or woman in the military is given something that won’t work.        

    "You have full trust in not only the guy beside you but the people that are leading you. And what the worst part is, the people that are leading you are at least doing what they think is right,” Neglia said.

    FOX13’s emails to 3M have not received responses.

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