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3M was ordered to pay $ 77.5 million to the veteran in the latest earplug attempt



(Reuters) – A jury in a federal court in Pensacola, Florida, on Friday ordered 3M Co. to pay $ 77.5 million to a U.S. Army veteran who said he suffered hearing damage as a result of using the company’s military earplugs.

The verdict for veteran James Beal is the largest to date for an individual in wide-ranging litigation over earplugs, which on May 16 included more than 290,000 claims in the Pensacola Court, by far the largest mass tort lawsuit in U.S. history.

Beal’s trial was the last of a first set of 16 trials held to test the strength of the plaintiffs’ claims and facilitate conciliation talks. Of the so-called bellwether trials, the plaintiffs won 1

0 and won a total of almost $ 300 million. The juries stood on 3M’s side for the remaining six.

Mr Beal, who served in the Army from 2005 to 2009 and in the Army’s reserves until 2011, said that he wore 3M’s Combat Arms Earplugs version 2 when he used a variety of weapons and as a result suffered from hearing loss and tinnitus.

Aearo Technologies, which 3M acquired in 2008, developed the earplugs, which were issued to military service members between 2003 and 2015. Plaintiffs allege that the company hid design flaws, cheated test results, and failed to provide instructions for proper use of the earplugs.


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