3M Co. has agreed to pay $9.1 million over allegations that it knowingly sold defective earplugs to the Defense Logistics Agency without disclosing defects that hampered the effectiveness of the devices, the U.S. Department of Justice announced July 26.
Specifically, the government alleged that 3M, and its predecessor, Aearo Technologies, knew that the Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2, was too short for proper insertion into users’ ears. It could loosen “imperceptibly,” the Justice Department said, and didn’t perform well for some individuals.
Moreover, the U.S. said 3M did not disclose the design defect to the military.
The settlement resolves allegations brought in a lawsuit under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act.