Novartis Agrees to Pay $678 Million to Settle Allegations of Illegal Kickbacks Involving Several of the Company’s Cardiovascular Drugs

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Attorney Eric L. Young Represents Whistleblower Oswald Bilotta in One of the Largest Ever Recoveries in a Health Care Fraud Case Brought Under the Qui Tam Provisions of the False Claims Act

PHILADELPHIA, July 1, 2020 — Attorney Eric. L. Young announced today that Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (“Novartis”) has agreed to settle alleged violations of the False Claims Act based on a qui tam complaint filed by whistleblower Oswald Bilotta, who is represented by McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt, Attorneys-at-Law (“McEldrew Young”), and Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah, LLP (“SFMS”).

“Today’s announcement puts the pharmaceutical industry on further notice that offering or paying unlawful remuneration to health care providers will have costly consequences,” said Eric Young, managing partner of McEldrew Young’s whistleblower practice. “The days are over for drug manufacturers who routinely provide incentives to doctors as a means of increasing the number of prescriptions written. There is no legitimate reason why drug manufacturers should take doctors to five-star restaurants, major sporting events or extravagant fishing excursions,” Mr. Young added.

Mr. Bilotta’s original whistleblower complaint was filed under seal in January 2011, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and alleged that Novartis’ Cardiovascular Diseases (“CV”) Division engaged in a variety of unlawful marketing schemes, as well as violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute, 42 U.S.C. § 1320a – 7b(b). On April 26, 2013, the Department of Justice announced that the United States had intervened in the action and filed a complaint in intervention. In the seven years since, McEldrew Young and SFMS have worked hand in hand with the U.S. Attorneys’ Office for the Southern District of New York to further substantiate Mr. Bilotta’s allegations through lengthy discovery and extensive legal arguments.

Both the United States’ and the whistleblower’s complaints alleged that Novartis had fraudulently billed Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, and other federal and state-funded health care programs. As part of the scheme, Novartis allegedly spent millions of dollars on incentive programs to doctors who steered patients toward drugs from Novartis’ CV Division in exchange for illegal kickbacks. The drugs implicated in the alleged kickback scheme, included Lotrel, Diovan, Diovan HCT, Tekturna, Tekturna HCT, Exforge, Exforge HCT, Valturna, Tekamlo, and Starlix.

The alleged kickbacks violated the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729-33, as well as analogous state and local laws, because government-funded health care programs reimbursed many of the prescriptions written by the doctors who allegedly received kickbacks. Eric Young noted that “U.S. taxpayers are often the biggest victims of pharmaceutical sales and marketing fraud because it increases the cost of health care for everyone — precious Medicare and Medicaid dollars are squandered due to corporate greed rather than being spent for the public good.”

Whistleblower Bilotta is a former Novartis sales representative from Long Island, New York, who identified and reported alleged unethical and illegal conduct by Novartis. Mr. Bilotta was also instrumental in identifying many of the physicians who allegedly accepted illicit financial incentives in exchange for prescribing the company’s drugs. The allegations set forth in Mr. Bilotta’s complaint detail how Novartis provided doctors with a wide array of inducements, including meals at top restaurants, trips to sporting events, and chartered fishing excursions. Many of these events were held under the guise of “educational programs” where doctors were paid to purportedly provide medical information to their peers.

“Mr. Bilotta has demonstrated remarkable courage and perseverance in coming forward with evidence of Novartis’ alleged wrongful conduct and seeing the case to its final resolution after nearly a decade,” said Mr. Young.

For Novartis, the past is prologue as it relates to the announcement of today’s settlement. Remarkably, less than four months before the original whistleblower complaint was filed in this case, Novartis entered into a settlement agreement with the United States government where it agreed to pay nearly $422 million in fines and penalties, both criminal and civil, to resolve similar allegations that it paid kickbacks to prescribers of certain other Novartis drugs.

As the managing partner of McEldrew Young’s whistleblower practice, Eric Young has established a distinguished record of success. Mr. Young has recovered more than $2 billion dollars for the government on behalf of his whistleblower clients. McEldrew Young represents whistleblowers from across the country and abroad. Many whistleblower cases are brought under the False Claims Act, which allows a private individual, known as a relator, to file a lawsuit on behalf of the United States government against a company that has perpetrated fraud against the government. If a relator successfully recovers funds on behalf of the government, he or she can receive a reward of 15 percent to 30 percent of the civil monetary recovery.

Case citation: United States ex rel. Bilotta v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Corp., S.D.N.Y. 11-CV-00071-PGG.

DOJ Aggressively Pursues Health Care Fraud in 2019

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In the first half of 2019, the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has shown that it intends to aggressively pursue health care providers who engage in fraudulent schemes to enrich themselves at the expense of their patients and American taxpayers. The DOJ has been especially diligent in its investigation and prosecution of health care providers who receive kickbacks and other improper incentives, as well as those on the other side of the transaction who make the illegal payments.

Recent DOJ Settlements Involving Health Care Providers

A review of the 2019 DOJ press release headlines offers insight into the scope and pervasiveness of illegal practices that some health care providers allegedly engage in:

  • Avanti Hospitals LLC, and Its Owners Agree to Pay $8.1 Million to Settle Allegations of Making Illegal Payments in Exchange for Referrals – January 28, 2019
  • Pathology Laboratory Agrees to Pay $63.5 Million for Providing Illegal Inducements to Referring Physicians – January 30, 2019
  • Covidien to Pay Over $17 Million to The United States for Allegedly Providing Illegal Remuneration in the Form of Practice and Market Development Support to Physicians – March 11, 2019
  • MedStar Health to Pay U.S. $35 Million to Resolve Allegations that it Paid Kickbacks to a Cardiology Group in Exchange for Referrals – March 21, 2019
  • United States Files Lawsuit Against West Virginia Hospital, Its Management Company, and Its CEO Based on Kickbacks and Other Improper Payments to Physicians – March 25, 2019
  • Former CEO of Hospital Chain to Pay $3.46 Million to Resolve False Billing and Kickback Allegations – April 30, 2019
  • Pharmaceutical Company Agrees to Pay $17.5 Million to Resolve Allegations of Kickbacks to Medicare Patients and Physicians – April 30, 2019
  • Rialto Capital Management and Current Owner of Indiana Hospital to Pay $3.6 Million to Resolve False Claims Act Allegations Arising from Kickbacks to Referring Physicians – June 3, 2019

The DOJ’s Arsenal in the Fight Against Health Care Fraud

Three statutes are most often implicated in fraud and abuses cases involving health care providers are the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729-3733 (“FCA”); the Anti-Kickback Statute 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(b) (“AKS”); and the Physician Self-Referral Law, 42 U.S.C. § 1395nn (commonly known as the “Stark Law”).

The False Claims Act

The federal False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729-3733, authorizes a private individual, known as a “relator,” to bring a cause of action on behalf of the federal government to recover funds lost because of fraud or other misconduct. A lawsuit filed under the False Claims Act is known as a qui tam action, and it allows a relator to sue on behalf of the government and, if successful, receive a percentage of the recovery.

The FCA was signed into law by President Lincoln during the Civil War. It was originally intended as means to legally pursue unscrupulous contractors who defrauded the Union Army by selling inferior goods, such as sawdust mixed with gunpowder, crippled horses, and boots made of cardboard. Even today, the FCA remains one of the most effective and important tools to prevent the government from purchasing overpriced, inferior, or nonexistent goods or services.

Most FCA violations in the health care industry arise from the submission of false or fraudulent claims for payment to government-funded health care programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid, CHAMPVA, and TRICARE. The civil penalties for violations of the FCA can be substantial. The filing of false claims can result in fines of up to three times the amount of the government’s losses, plus a penalty ranging from $11,463 to $22,927 for each false claim submitted. If a health care provider submits a claim to the government that resulted from a kickback or Stark law violation, it can also render the claim false or fraudulent.  This, in turn, creates liability under the FCA, in addition to liability under the AKS or Stark law. Some examples of FCA violations involving health care providers can be found here.

The FCA’s whistleblower provision allows a relator to file a lawsuit on behalf of the United States. If the government makes a successful recovery based on original information provided by a whistleblower, the whistleblower may be entitled to a reward of 15 to 30% of the government’s recovery.

The Anti-Kickback Statute

The Anti-Kickback Statute, 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(b), prohibits offering, paying, soliciting, or receiving “remuneration” to induce referrals of items or services covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and other federally-funded health care programs. The AKS is a criminal law that involves any item or service payable by a federal health care program (e.g., drugs, supplies, or health care services for Medicare or Medicaid patients). “Remuneration” includes anything of value and can include items other than cash, such as free rent, expensive hotel stays and meals, and excessive compensation for medical directorships or consulting services.

In certain sectors of the economy, a reward given to someone for a business referral is a commonly accepted and legal practice. However, compensation paid to someone for a referral involving a federal health care program is a crime. The AKS applies to both those who offer or pay remuneration as well as those who solicit or receive remuneration. Since an AKS violation can result in criminal liability, the intent of each party to the transaction is a critical element to determining culpability.

United States v. Greber, 760 F.2d 68 (3rd Cir. 1985) is a landmark case which held that paying a referring physician to use a laboratory’s services, even if the remuneration was compensation for professional services, was a violation of the AKS. Greber was a physician who was board certified in cardiology. Greber’s company, Cardio-Med, Inc., provided diagnostic services, some of which were billed to Medicare. The government eventually charged Greber with, inter alia, Medicare fraud in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1395nn(b)(2)(B). The charges were based on Cardio-Med’s practice of paying kickbacks from Medicare funds to referring physicians in order to obtain future referrals. Greber claimed that the payments were for work performed by physicians, and future referrals were only one purpose of the payments. Greber was convicted, and he appealed. The Third Circuit affirmed the conviction, holding that a payment to a referring physician is illegal if it is done to encourage future referrals, even if the payment is compensatory. 760 F.2d at 72.

The policy reasons underlying the AKS are based on the premise that kickbacks exploit the health care system, drive up costs for medical services, and impede fair competition in the industry. Kickbacks can also result in patient steering, which can compromise the decision-making process of health care providers and institutions. Hospitals that participate in the Medicare program, or other federally-sponsored health care programs, are required to enter into contracts in which they agree to comply with federal laws and regulations, including the AKS.

Although the AKS is a criminal statute, it provides both criminal and civil penalties for violations. The criminal penalties can include fines of up to $25,000 and five years’ imprisonment for each violation. The Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services can pursue civil penalties of up to $50,000 per violation plus three times the amount of sustained by the government.

The Physician Self-Referral Law

The Physician Self-Referral Law or Stark Law, 42 U.S.C. § 1395nn, prohibits a physician from referring patients for certain “designated health services” payable by Medicare to an entity with which the physician, or his or her immediate family member, has a financial relationship, unless one of a number of specific exceptions applies. A financial relationship can include ownership or investment interests, or compensation arrangements between a physician, or immediate family, and an entity that furnishes designated health services.

Designated health services include:

  • Clinical laboratory services;
  • Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and outpatient speech-language pathology services;
  • Radiology and certain other imaging services;
  • Radiation therapy services and supplies;
  • DME and supplies;
  • Parenteral and enteral nutrients, equipment, and supplies;
  • Prosthetics, orthotics, and prosthetic devices and supplies;
  • Home health services;
  • Outpatient prescription drugs; and
  • Inpatient and outpatient hospital services.

The Stark law is a strict liability statute, which means that a physician does not have to possess the specific intent to violate the law. Much like the AKS, the Stark Law is intended to ensure that a physician’s medical judgment is based only on the best interests of the patient and is not swayed by improper financial incentives.

Penalties for Stark law violations can include:

  • Denial of payment – Medicare will not pay for designated health services that were provided pursuant to a prohibited referral.
  • Refund of payment – Any entity that collects payment for designated health services that were provided pursuant to a prohibited referral must refund all such payments.
  • Imposition of civil monetary penalties – a civil monetary penalty of up to $15,000 can be imposed for each prohibited service, as well as additional civil assessments and potential liability under the False Claims Act.
  • Exclusion from federal health care programs — Physicians and entities can be excluded from participation in government-sponsored health care programs.

The Necessity of Whistleblowers

The government lacks the resources to identify and prosecute every instance of fraud carried out by unscrupulous physicians, medical equipment providers or hospitals. Many settlements and successful verdicts reported by the DOJ are often based on information provided by a whistleblower willing to come forward after hearing or witnessing some type of improper conduct. In the health care sector, a whistleblower is often a current or ex-business partner, a hospital or office staff member, a patient, or a business competitor.

Anyone who is an “original source” of information involving fraud against the government can be a whistleblower. As defined in the False Claims Act, original source means “an individual who either (i) prior to a public disclosure . . . has voluntarily disclosed to the Government the information on which allegations or transactions in a claim are based, or (2) who has knowledge that is independent of and materially adds to the publicly disclosed allegations or transactions, and who has voluntarily provided the information to the Government before filing an action under this section.” 31 U.S.C. § 3730(e)(4)(B).

There are many pitfalls to filing a whistleblower claim with a government department or agency. Without proper legal representation, a whistleblower might not receive a reward even though he or she provided information and assisted the government in the investigation that resulted in a successful recovery. The attorneys at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt have a proven track record of success in all types of whistleblower cases. If you have evidence of a fraudulent scheme involving a health care provider or facility, or any other type of fraud against the government, the attorneys at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt will provide a free confidential review of your evidence and recommend the best course of action. For a no obligation consultation, call Eric L. Young or Paul Shehadi at (215) 367-5151 or you can submit your information through the contact form found on most pages of this site.

What should I know about the Fisher Price Rock’n’ Play Sleeper recall?

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If you are a parent, caregiver of a child, grandparent, or guardian and are using a Fisher Price Rock’n’ Play Sleeper, it is in your best interest to stop using it immediately.

 

On April 12th, 2019 Fisher Price officially recalled 4.7 million Rock N’ Play Sleepers.

They also advised parents to cease all use of the sleeper. The reason behind the massive recall is related to at least 32 infant deaths. Before the recall, The American Academy of Pediatrics had encouraged the Consumer Product Safety Commission, or CPSC, to recall the sleeper product after a Consumer Reports Investigation brought to lit the large number of infant deaths since 2011.

 

Just before the recall of millions of sleepers, the Consumer Reports officially called for a recall of another infant sleeper, the Ingenuity Moonlight, made by Kids II. This was done after at least 4 infants died while using the sleeper.

 

Since the recall, there are Fisher-Price Rock’n’ Play Sleeper defective product lawsuits underway. We, at [law firm name[, are currently investigating cases that involve infant deaths attributed to the Fisher Price Rock’n’ Play Sleeper. If you lost a child, and believe this popular product may have been the cause, we urge you to call us as soon as possible.

 

What You Should Know

 

The Consumer Reports investigation sought advice from doctors and medical experts who suggested infants be placed on their backs and away from any soft bedding, so as to minimize the risk of asphyxiation. To add to this the American Academy of Pediatricians does not advise parents to allow their babies to sleep at an incline, especially while restraining a baby while they rock.

 

The Fisher Price Rock’n’ Play Sleeper has been designed in a way that allows babies to sleep at an inclined position, as the product rocks. The company even marketed the sleeper as being a product that a baby could sleep in all night long.

In addition to this, the CPSC has issued  a warning in the past which asked the consumers of the sleeper to discontinue use as soon as the child turned three months of age, or was exhibiting signs of being able to roll over – whichever came first. Both Fisher Price and the CPSC acknowledged 10 infant deaths, and said they occured after the baby rolled from the back to the stomach. This was not exactly true, according to the Consumer Reports. What the investigation showed was that the babies were younger than three months old. Rolling over was not likely.

 

At this time Fisher Price has stated they are aware of at least 32 infant deaths since the introduction of the sleeper in 2009. However, they also said the infants may have had mental or physical health conditions that attributed to the deaths, or the sleeper was being used in a way that contradicted the manual and it’s warnings.

 

It should be noted the investigation did note in select cases, there may have been other factors to consider. Even so, Consumer Reports found there were enough causes for concern that a recall should occur as soon as possible.

 

At least 4.7 million sleepers have been sold to consumers. They are one of the most popular sleepers on the markets, but should no longer be used as they are not safe for infants or babies of any age. If you or someone you know is using this sleeper, please discontinue its use.

 

If you are one of the parents who tragically lost a child, and you believe the Rock n’ Play Sleeper is the cause, our firm is investigating these cases. We understand what it takes to build a case against a large corporation like Fisher Price and will do our best to get justice for you and all the other families.

 

To learn more about the  Fisher-Price Rock’n’ Play Sleeper defective product lawsuits, call McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt.

Fisher-Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper Defective Product Lawsuits: Are They Right for You?

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The number of Fisher-Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper Defective Product lawsuits are on the rise, and if your family lost a child after using this defective product, contact us at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt without delay. Our legal team has the experience and resources necessary to successfully fight this corporate subsidiary on behalf of grieving parents. A lawsuit cannot turn back time but it can send a message that a company cannot knowingly sell a product that is harmful to its users. Gross negligence is not acceptable, and taking legal action in the form of lawsuits against the Fisher-Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper defective product is a way to get justice. A substantial settlement from the manufacturer can also ease the financial burden that families may suffer in the wake of losing a loved one.

 

Contact our office today to learn more about how we might be able to assist your family during this difficult time.

 

How do I file defective product lawsuits against Fisher-Price after their Rock n’ Play Sleeper harmed my child?

 

At least 32 infant deaths are linked to the use of Fisher-Price’s Rock n’ Play Sleeper. The primary issue is that the product allows a child who is capable of rolling over while sleeping to asphyxiate. Product liability laws are intended to protect consumers from dangerous products. When a consumer uses a product in the manner as specified by the manufacturer, and if that product causes harm as a result, the manufacturer may be held liable for the consumer’s damages. McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt represents injured victims and surviving family members who lost a loved one in a fatal accident. Call us to schedule a free and confidential case review to learn if you are eligible to file one or more Fisher-Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper defective product lawsuits against the culpable parties.

 

What is involved in filing lawsuits against Fisher-Price for their Rock n’ Play Sleeper defective product?

 

When McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt takes a case representing parents who lost their child due to a defective product, our lawyers will determine who should be held liable. There may be more than one culpable party. After we identify who should be held accountable for our client’s loss, we may do the following:

 

  •         Build a damage claim that includes proof of liability and a detailed accounting of the resulting damages, with an assessed value for each type of damage.
  •         Submit the claim to the responsible party or parties.
  •         If the settlement offer from the responsible party is too low, our attorneys will enter into negotiations with the company to arrive at a fair amount. If the company refuses to negotiate in good faith, McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt may initiate a lawsuit against them.
  •         If the client’s case advances to the courtroom, we will argue the case in front of a jury.

If you are considering filing one or more lawsuits against Fisher-Price for their Rock n’ Play Sleeper defective product, contact us at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt to learn how we can help you.

When a Slip-And-Fall Leads To Wrongful Death

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Personal Injury Lawyer

Slip-and-fall accidents are some of the most common accidents to occur. This is because there are many things that can cause it to happen, including uneven pavement, icy roads, unseen puddles, and upturned rugs. For some, a slip-and-fall accident may result in no injury or non-life threatening injuries, but for others, it may be mean wrongful death. If your loved one recently passed away after they sustained a slip-and-fall injury, you may be wondering if you can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. Like any lawsuit, there are certain pieces of evidence that you must provide to a court and certain factors that must be present for your case to be successful.

What Should You Prove In This Lawsuit?

There are similar components you must prove for both the slip-and-fall injury and for bringing forth the wrongful death lawsuit. Just like you would for a personal injury claim after your loved one suffered a slip-and-fall accident, you must show that they were not at fault. For example, if your loved one was walking through a grocery store, tripped over their own feet, fell, and hit their head, they were likely the cause of their injury. If this case, you would not have had substantial evidence to bring forth a personal injury claim had your loved one survived. Thus, you likely would not have enough evidence for a wrongful death lawsuit either. On the other hand, if your loved one slipped on a wet puddle in the middle of the grocery store that had no warning signs, hit their head and later died because of these injuries, you likely have what you need for a lawsuit.

Components Of the Wrongful Death Lawsuit

You must present certain elements to have a successful wrongful death lawsuit. These are:

  • Your loved one died.
  • Their death was not their own fault but someone else’s negligence caused it.
  • The negligence directly caused your loved one’s death.
  • You or surviving family members are suffering in some way (typically financially) because of their death.

With the above example, the components would be that your loved one slipped and sustained injuries due to the negligence of the store manager or staff, died because of these injuries, and you and other family members are suffering for various reasons because of their death.

What Kind Of Damages Can Someone Claim?

When your loved one was the victim of wrongful death after a slip-and-fall, there are certain damages you can claim. Some of these are:

  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • Medical bills prior to your loved one’s death
  • The loss of the victim’s income
  • The loss of the victim’s benefits
  • The loss of consortium or love
  • The pain and suffering your loved one went through before dying
  • A loss of companionship

Why Slip-And-Fall Accidents Are So Dangerous

Many people walk away from slip-and-fall accidents without a scrape. Others may have mild injuries. Slip-and-fall accidents are particularly dangerous because brain injuries (like concussions or hemorrhages) may not have any signs until it is too late. If your loved one died after a slip-and-fall accident, don’t hesitate any longer in seeking help from a compassionate attorney, like a personal injury lawyer in Melbourne, FL

Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Offices of Arcadier, Biggie, & Woods for their insight into personal injury and wrongful death.

Can I Get a Settlement with 3M for Hearing Loss Caused by Combat Earplugs?

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3M Combat Earplug Hearing Loss Claims

 

In July 2018, the popular company, and brand 3M, was ordered to compensate victims of hearing loss and tinnitus by the U.S. Department of Justice. The lawsuit was filed by a whistleblower, and later on the D.O.J., for selling the government defective earplugs which were used by millions of deployed military personnel. To date, a very large number of veterans have suffered from hearing loss and tinnitus which was likely caused by 3Ms Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2).

 

Is a Settlement with 3M for Hearing Loss Caused by Combat Ear Plugs Available for You?

If you are a U.S. military veteran, a current service member, or a military contractor, and you used 3Ms Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2), it may be possible to file a lawsuit against the company. McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt is currently reviewing cases that involve 3M earplug claims.

If the following apply to you, please call us as soon as possible:

  • You were on active duty in foreign combat zones between 2003 and 2015.
  • You used 3Ms Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2).
  • You have been diagnosed with temporary,, long term, or permanent hearing loss or tinnitus while you served or after.

 

A settlement with 3M for hearing loss caused by Combat earplugs may be available to cover:

  • Medical care
  • Hearing aids
  • Treatment to improve your hearing
  • Loss of income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Temporary or permanent damages
  • + More

 

How Does 3Ms Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) Cause Damage to the Ears

3Ms Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) were originally created by Aearo Technologies, Inc. In 2008, 3M acquired the company and its employees. According to the lawsuit, Aearo knew about the defective earplugs as early as 2000. It was also claimed that Aearo was manipulating test results in order to meet the strict standards of the U.S. Government.

 

In 2003, Aearo was able to convince the government to purchase the earplugs, via military contract, for U.S. military personnel. Troops in all branches of the U.S. Military were issued these ear plugs. Those were were in combat zones like Iraq or Afghanistan expected these ear plugs to block out loud noises like gunfire, aircraft, and explosions. Consequently, the 3Ms Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) did not work in the way they were supposed to; thereby, allowing dangerous levels of sounds to penetrate through the ear canal and into the eardrum, leading to:

 

  • Partial or full hearing loss
  • Tinnitus
  • Chronic tinnitus

 

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has said that there is a sharp increase in hearing related problems in service personnel. Over 1 million people have been diagnosed with hearing loss and nearly 2 million with tinnitus. This is likely to be attributed to 3Ms Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2).

 

If You Have Suffered from Hearing Loss or Tinnitus while Serving in U.S. Combat Zones, Call McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt

Even though you might have worn the 3M earplugs many years ago, it may be possible to recover compensation. The first thing you should do is to contact a lawyer for 3M Combat Arms Earplugs lawyer as soon as possible.

What should I know about the lawsuit for 3M earplug hearing loss?

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Earplug Hearing Loss Lawyers

 

McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt is currently accepting case reviews for any U.S. service member who was on active duty between 2003 and 2015 and suffered from hearing loss or tinnitus. For a free case review with a 3M defective earplugs lawyer, please call us today or complete the form on this page.

 

If you’ve been following up with recent media, you might have heard about the recent $9.1 milion agreement by 3M to compensation victims of hearing loss. The following is a brief overview about what you should understand.

 

The Problem

The lawsuit, initially filed by a whistleblower and later joined by the U.S. Department of Justice, claimed the  Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) made by 3M were knowingly defective because they can become loose while being worn; thereby, exposing the wearer to dangerous limits of sounds. This can result in temporary, long term, or permanent hearing loss.

 

3M Agrees to Pay $9.1 Million in Settlements

 

In July 2018, 3M agreed to pay back the government and a settlement worth $9.1 million to veterans. The agreement concluded the end to the lawsuit and resolved allegations against the company which involved them knowing about the product defect, failure to properly instruct the wearer, and manipulating initial testing.  

 

The U.S. Department of Defense alleged that 3M was aware of the  Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) being too short. This made it difficult for some of the wearers to fit the earplug adequate into the ear canal. According to the lawsuit 3M, and the initial maker Aearo, had been aware of the defect as early as 2000, but hide their knowledge from the government.

 

What Might Happen and Who is At Most Risk?

 

When the earplugs did not fit properly, sounds from explosions, aircraft, machinery, and gun fire may have entered into the ear canal; thereby causing:

 

  • An ongoing ringing in the ear (Tinnitus)
  • Hearing loss
  • Deafness

 

Who Used the  Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2)?

 

In 2003, 3M secured a contract with the Department of Defense worth millions of dollars. The contract agreed to supply all branches of the military with Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2). The earplugs were standard issue to service men and women who were involved in:

 

  • The Iraq War
  • The War in Afghanistan
  • The War in North-West Pakistan
  • The War in Somalia
  • Operation Ocean Shield
  • The Libyan Crisis
  • The American-led Intervention in Syria
  • The Yemen Civil War

 

All branches of the U.S. military wore these earplugs while in the above areas.

 

Has Your Hearing Been Damaged by Potentially Defective Earplugs?

According to the Veterans Affairs, hearing loss and hearing related problems is one of the most common long term medical conditions that military service members are facing. The consequences of hearing loss can be devastating and exacerbate the symptoms of PTSD and depression.

3M Earplug Lawyer

McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt is currently working with U.S. veterans who suffered hearing loss between 2003 and 2015. If you believe you wore these earplugs while station abroad, in combat zones, and you have hearing loss or tinnitus, we encourage you to call us for a free case review.

 

I suffered hearing loss while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. Could I have a claim against 3M for their defective earplugs?  

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Hearing Loss Caused by 3M Earplugs

 

In 2018, 3M settled a case against the U.S. Department of Justice. This case involved their 3M Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) which were found to be defective, but worn by all branches of U.S. Military personnel who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

In 2017, 1.9 million veterans were diagnosed with Tinnitus; another 1 million had suffered from hearing loss. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, there has been a significant increase in hearing related problems over the last decade or so. This is likely related to the defective earplugs made by 3M.

 

3M Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2)  were worn by service men and women in the Army, Airforce, Marines, Navy, and other branches of the U.S Military between 2003 and 2015. Since this time, millions of veterans who were protecting the country have complained of hearing loss and a constant ringing in their ears.

 

Right now there are many veterans who think they cannot file a lawsuit against 3M because they have exceeded the time limits. Because the settlement was only reached and agreed to in 2018, it is certainly possible that anyone on active duty in the U.S. Military between 2003 and 2015, and who wore the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2), may be entitled to monetary compensation. A 3M defective earplugs lawyer from McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt should be sought as soon as possible.

 

How Are the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) Defective?

 

3M Combat Arms Earplugs (CAEv2) are dual ended which means the wearer should have been protected in two different ways. One end fits into the canal of the ear and blocks out noises such as gunfire and explosions. The outer end sits outside of the ear canal and blocks noise before it enters the canal.

 

It was found, after investigation and a whistleblower claim, that the side of the earplug to fit inside the ear canal was too short. Once inside, it loosened and exposed the wearer to any surrounding noises. The loosening of the earplug was not noticeable which is why millions of personnel continued to wear them and thought their hearing was protected.

 

In combat zones, the noises are often intense and may include ongoing explosions, gunfire, machinery, and flying aircraft. Being subjected to these types of noises for extended periods of time can cause hearing loss and tinnitus. Conditions like these may be long term or permanent and are affecting millions of military personnel who were protecting the country. Now many of these veterans may be able to file a lawsuit against 3M for damages to cover pain and suffering.

 

Even though some veterans may not have used these earplugs in over a decade, it is possible to get legal advice on whether or not the ability to file a claim is an option. If you or someone you know wore CAEv2 earplugs by 3M, you should consult a 3M defective earplugs lawyer from McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt as soon as possible.

 

Can I file a lawsuit for 3M earplug hearing loss?

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Lawsuit for 3M Earplug Hearing Loss

If you were an active duty member in any of the branches of the U.S. military between 2003 and 2015, you wore dual sided Combat Arms Earplugs made by 3M, and lost some or all of your hearing, you may be able to file a claim for monetary compensation through a lawsuit for 3M earplug hearing loss. To speak with a 3M defective earplug lawyer, please call McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt.

 

I Wore Combat Arms Earplugs While In the U.S. Military. How Do I Know If I was At Risk for Hearing Loss?

The reasons 3M has been ordered to compensate injured veterans is because they were contracted by the U.S. Defense to provide active duty personnel with earplugs that blocked out dangerous levels of sounds in combat zones. The problem is that these ear plugs were defective. Rather than keeping the military personnel’s ear canals and ear drums safe, the earplugs were too short to be inserted into the ears properly. This caused them to be unknowingly loosened, or in other words dislodged. Because of this, some people were exposed to dangerous levels of soundwaves.

 

Most people will be aware of all of some of their hearing loss; however, some might not have been diagnosed with the condition. In general, if you notice sensitivity in the ears, ringing in the ears, or distortions of sound, you should see a doctor for a hearing test. If you are diagnosed with hearing loss or tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and you believe you used these 3M earplugs between 2003-2015, it is possible that you may recover compensation through a lawsuit for 3M earplug hearing loss.

 

You should turn to a 3M defective earplug lawyer for further advice.

 

Did 3M Know?

According to a statement released by the U.S. Department of Justice, the corporation 3M has agreed to pay out $9.1 million in claims through lawsuits for 3M earplug hearing loss because they allegedly knew they were selling the defective earplugs to the United States Government. They also failed to disclose the product defect that reduces the effectiveness of the earplugs. The statement also disclosed that 3M was aware of the defect since 2000; however, continued to contract them to the military.

 

The Department of Veterans Affairs has also said that there has been a significant increase in both tinnitus and hearing loss claims made by veterans. What this means is that the safety of millions of U.S. servicemen and woman could have been compromised in favor of profits made by corporations. Nothing might be more displeasing than learning about this which is why you should consult a lawyer to find out how you can get justice through lawsuit for 3M earplug hearing loss.

 

At this time, 3M has paid back the government, but they have not reimbursed the injured veterans who might never hear normal sounds again. The company has been ordered to pay their victims, but it will be up to the victim to pursue compensation. 3M does not have to reach out to every veteran who suffered hearing loss. What this means is that if you have suffered hearing loss while in the U.S. military between 2003 and 2015, you should not delay in reaching out to a 3M defective earplugs lawyer to potentially pursue a lawsuit for 3M earplug hearing loss.

 

What do I need to know about 3M combat earplug hearing loss claims?

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Earplug Hearing Loss Lawyers

3M combat earplug hearing loss claims can raise a lot of questions for those who were injured from this defective product while serving in the United States military. When a whistleblower came forward recently, they revealed that 3M sold a particular brand and model of combat earplugs to the armed forces that were defective. From 2003 to 2015, the Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 CAEv2 are dual-ended and two-colored earplugs that 3M sold while knowingly aware that they offered no protection to wearers.

 

Though the Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 have since been discontinued, but they were responsible for many instances of hearing loss and deafness among military service members. This includes:

 

  •         Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars
  •         Air Force personnel
  •         Navy personnel
  •         Military personnel
  •         Reserve personnel who were stationed in the U.S. but fired weapons during training

 

Is There Compensation Available to Those Injured by 3M Combat Earplugs?

McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt works with individuals who suffered serious health issues or conditions as a result of using a defective product. We represent victims (plaintiffs) in 3M combat earplug hearing loss claims. These claims are filed against 3M, not the U.S. government or the U.S. military. Upon a successful claim, the injured service member who served between 2003 and 2015 may receive a substantial amount of compensation for their damages. Their damages might include ear surgery, medications, pain and suffering, and much more. For those who suffered permanent damage that cannot be reversed or heal completely, they may be eligible to receive the larger settlements.

 

What Were the 3M Combat Earplugs Used For?

3M was the only contractor authorized to supply the U.S. military with the combat earplugs. This is why the combat earplug hearing loss claims are focused on 3M. They sold millions of these earplugs to the military and as such, a substantial number of service members were possibly injured as a result of using them. The earplugs were dual use:

 

  •         One end of the earplugs, when inserted into the ear, was intended to block general sounds much like traditional earplugs for non-military use.
  •         The other end of the earplugs, when inserted into the ear, was intended to block loud sounds such as gunfire, rocket launchers, bombs, etc. but still allow the wearer to hear spoken communication in the nearby vicinity.

 

What Was the Nature of the Earplugs’ Defect?

The nature of the defect was that the earplugs loosened in the wearer’s ear. That loose fit allowed sounds to penetrate the earplugs and damage the wearer’s ear canal, causing damage or complete deafness. The original manufacturer of the earplugs had tested the earplugs and determined that they had a noise reduction rating of 0 instead of the 22 that they claimed to customers, and 3M (the company that purchased the original manufacturing company) admitted to knowing this.

 

How Can a Lawyer Help?

McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt represents victims who suffered ear damage as a result of using the defective earplugs. To learn more about whether or not you are eligible to join 3M combat earplug hearing loss claims, call our office today to request a free consultation.

 

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