A retired U.S. Marine from South Jersey filed a federal suit in Philadelphia on Thursday, claiming that defective earplugs manufactured by 3M were the direct cause of his deafness.
Capt. Matthew Morrison (retired), 35, served in Afghanistan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia between 2007 and 2013. During his deployments, Morrison was exposed to to extensive live-fire training of heavy machine guns, rockets, small arms, explosives and other munitions.
As directed by protocols, Morrison — like hundreds of thousands of other Marines — wore standard issue 3M Dual-Ended Combat Arms earplugs, according to court papers.
The suit alleges fraudulent misrepresentation and negligence. It claims 3M knew the earplugs were faulty.
3M declined to comment on “specific litigation matters at this time.”
In July 2018, the company agreed to pay $9.1 million to resolve allegations that it fraudulently supplied the U.S. with defective earplugs. Filed by Philadelphia attorney Robert Mongeluzzi, the suit states the plugs caused Morrison to become 100 percent deaf in his right ear because the design allowed them to “imperceptibly loosen in the wearer’s ear, thus allowing damaging sounds to enter the ear canal.”