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Two veterans awarded $55M each over defective earplugs that caused hearing loss

Jan. 28 (UPI) -- A Florida jury on Friday ordered manufacturing company 3M to pay $110 million in damages over defective earplugs.

Army veterans Ronald Sloan and William Wayman were awarded $55 million each in compensatory and punitive damages after an eight-person jury decided that the company was to blame for their hearing loss.

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The sum of money is twice the size of all other earplug-related rulings combined.

Claims were filed by more than 250,000 veterans and military personnel who allege they suffered hearing loss while wearing 3M's Combat Arms CAEv2 earplugs.

This week's ruling is the latest update in potential settlements for large-scale litigation.

Plaintiffs have won six cases against 3M with $160 million total awarded. The company won five other trials and faces five more trials this year.

3M stopped selling the earplugs in question in 2015 and has said that the product was effective in some situations.

The company claims that hearing loss is inevitable in some combat scenarios. It plans to appeal the verdict.

"While we are disappointed with the verdicts, the overall mixed record in the bellwether process thus far shows that plaintiffs face significant challenges in this litigation and each case must be considered on its own facts and circumstances," 3M said, according to The Star Tribune.

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"We will continue to defend ourselves vigorously throughout this litigation."

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