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May 3, 2021 — As more than 230,000 veterans, current service members, and more users of 3M earplugs have filed claims stating that the earplugs have caused them significant hearing loss rather than protecting them from it, the verdict of the first 3M lawsuit to go to trial was highly anticipated.  The bellwether trial consolidated the lawsuits of three veterans and lasted for five weeks in the U.S. District Court in Pensacola, Florida under Judge M. Casey Rodgers.  On April 30, 2021, a federal jury found that 3M Co. failed to warn about defects in its product and awarded the veterans $7.1 million. Each veteran received $2.1 million in punitive damages and the veterans’ individual awards were $340,000, $320,000, and $160,000.

A 3M spokeswoman stated that the company is in disagreement with the verdict, saying that the plaintiffs did not meet the burden of proving the “product was defectively or negligently designed.” She also informed that the company will consider “multiple grounds for appeal.”

Attorneys for the veterans were just as confident, stating, “The evidence is clear: 3M knew their earplugs were defective, yet they allowed our service members to suffer these life-altering injuries.”

The next bellwether trial begins May 17.

Reference: Randazzo, Sara. 3M Loses First Trial Over Military Earplugs. 30 Apr. 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/3m-loses-first-trial-over-military-earplugs-11619809398.

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Gayle Gerling Pettinga

Born and raised in Evansville, Gayle is a respected, experienced lawyer and a valued community leader. She graduated near the top of her class at Indiana University’s prestigious Maurer School of Law. She’s practiced law with one of the largest firms in Indianapolis as well as one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. And that means she knows how big law firms and big companies think and how they operate – and she will put that knowledge to work for you.

Gayle has received numerous awards and honors including Martindale-Hubbell — Peer Review Rated: AV®, American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys 10 Best Attorneys in Indiana for Exceptional and Outstanding Client Service, and YWCA Evansville 100 Years, 100 Women Honoree, 2011.

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