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3M hit with $22.5 million verdict in latest U.S. military earplug trial -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – The 3M logo can be seen in Maplewood (Minnesota), USA, on March 4, 2020. REUTERS/Nicholas Pfosi/File Photo

This Dec. 10, 2010 story incorrectly states that the trial occurred in Tallahassee (Florida).

Nate Raymond

(Reuters] – On Friday, a federal jury awarded $22.5million to a U.S. Army Veteran who claimed that 3M Co combat earplugs caused his hearing loss and tinnitus. This is the largest verdict in mass litigation regarding the product.

Theodore Finley was the plaintiff in the most recent trial in Florida. This case stemmed from 272,000 cases brought by veterans and servicemembers who claimed that 3M’s defective earplugs had caused them hearing loss.

Finley used the earplugs during his time in the Army, 2006-2014. He was awarded $15 million in punitive and compensatory damages. This verdict was more than the $13,000,000 awarded to a U.S. Army sergeant by jurors last month.

This trial is the eighth to result in a verdict. Plaintiffs in four cases won more than $29 millions. In three other cases, 3M was favored by the judges. Two more are currently underway with many more.

“We will make sure that 3M is fully held accountable for putting profit over safety of those who have served our country,” said the joint statement by the leading lawyers representing the plaintiffs, Bryan Aylstock (Shelley Hutson) and Christopher Seeger.

3M found the verdict disappointing. 3M said that they will defend themselves and 3M is confident in Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2.

3M acquired Aearo Technologies LLC in 2008 and developed the product. The plaintiffs claim that the company concealed design flaws and fudged testing results. They also failed to give instruction on proper usage of the earplugs.

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