3M struck with $22.5 million decision in newest U.S. military earplug trial By Reuters

© Reuters. SUBMIT PICTURE: The 3M logo design is seen at its international head office in Maplewood, Minnesota, U.S. on March 4, 2020. REUTERS/Nicholas Pfosi/File Photo

By Nate Raymond

(Reuters) -A federal jury on Friday granted $22.5 million to a U.S. Army veteran who declared that fight earplugs offered by 3M Co triggered him to suffer hearing loss and ringing in the ears, the greatest decision yet in huge lawsuits over the item.

Jurors in Pensacola, Florida, agreed previous U.S. Army soldier Theodore Finley in the current trial to arise from more than 272,000 claims by servicemembers and veterans who state malfunctioning earplugs made by 3M triggered their hearing damage.

Finley, who utilized the earplugs while serving in the Army from 2006 to 2014, was granted $7.5 million in countervailing damages and $15 million in compensatory damages. The decision went beyond the $13 million jurors granted a U.S. Army sergeant last month.

The trial was the 8th up until now to reach a decision, with complainants in 4 other cases winning more than $29 million integrated. Juries agreed 3M in 3 others, and 2 more trials are underway, with more to come.

“We will ensure that 3M is held fully accountable for putting profits over the safety of those who served our nation,” the lead attorneys for the complainants – Bryan Aylstock, Shelley Hutson and Christopher Seeger – stated in a joint declaration.

3M called the decision frustrating. It stated it will continue protecting itself which 3M stayed positive the Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 was safe and efficient.

Aearo Technologies LLC, which 3M purchased in 2008, established the item. Plaintiffs declare the business concealed style defects, fudged test outcomes and stopped working to offer direction in the appropriate usage of the earplugs.

For the earplugs to work appropriately, the versatile cups on the side extending from the ear in some cases needed to be folded back. If not, the plugs would gradually loosen up and sound would leak in. Veterans compete 3M stopped working to communicate the requirement to fold the plugs.

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