By Sara Randazzo
3M Co. lost the first lawsuit to go to trial over the safety of earplugs it sold for years to the military, with a Florida federal jury Friday awarding $7.1 million to three veterans and finding the company failed to warn about defects in the product.
More than 230,000 service members, veterans and others have filed claims blaming 3M earplugs for causing hearing loss. The distinct yellow-and-green plugs, used widely by the U.S. Army and other branches, were designed with one side intended to fully block noise and the other to let in nearby voices while shielding the ear from harmful ballistic noises.
Minnesota-based 3M has stood by the safety of the earplugs, which it stopped selling in 2015. A company spokeswoman said Friday they disagree with the verdict and don't believe plaintiffs met the burden of proving the "product was defectively or negligently designed" or caused the veterans' purported injuries. The company, she said, will evaluate "multiple grounds for appeal."
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires