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Welcome Ruth Rizkalla to The Carlson Law Firm.

On April 30, a Florida jury handed down a $7.1M verdict against 3M in the first bellwether trial involving military hearing loss claims against the company for its defective earplugs. 

It is the first step in securing monetary compensation for at least 240,000 military veterans who have suffered significant damage to their hearing as a result of 3M’s defective combat earplugs, called CAEv2.

The Carlson Law Firm’s Ruth Rizkalla is one of the 3M Earplug Lawyers who served on the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee.

“I feel privileged in being part of a team that helped secure this verdict on behalf of servicemembers dealing with the irreparable harms at the hands of this negligent company,” Rizkalla said. 

What were the plaintiffs awarded in the first 3M Earplug Bellwether Trial?

The Pensacola jury awarded $2.1 million in punitive damages to the following three plaintiffs: 

  • Stephan Hacker, a 20-year Army vet who experienced bilateral tinnitus in 2006.
  • Luke Estes, a former tank platoon leader who began losing hearing and developed ringing in both ears in 2014.
  • Lewis Keefer, an Army medic who is gradually losing his hearing. Keefer used the earplugs at a stateside duty station, as well as while serving in the line of duty in Iraq.

In addition to punitive damages, the jury awarded Hacker an additional $160,000 for pain and suffering, Estes an additional $250,500 for medical costs, lost earnings and pain and suffering, and Keefer an additional $320,000 in medical costs, lost earnings and pain suffering. 

Rapid Succession 3M Earplug Bellwether Trials

The trial started March 29 and the three cases were brought before the jury. There are two more trials slated to begin over the next couple of weeks. 

On May 17, the trial for Dustin McCombs is expected to start. McCombs suffered tinnitus following an IED blast in Afghanistan in April 2009. His condition worsened when he was stationed at Fort Richardson in Alaska. 

On June 17, the trial for Lloyd Baker is slated to begin. Baker got tinnitus from urban warfare training at Fort Lewis in Washington state between 2005 and 2006. Part of his position was to operate a 160-decibel M240 machine gun. 

How has 3M Responded to the First Earplug Bellwether Jury Verdict?

During the trial, 3M argued that the military bears responsibility for the way the earplugs were designed. The company went on to say that it sees “multiple grounds for appeal.”

The Carlson Law Firm can help

Hearing injuries as a result of 3M’s defective combat earplugs were preventable. Their misrepresentation of the safety of their product has led to thousands of hearing injuries for military service members. If you or a loved one has suffered hearing loss injuries as a result of 3M’s negligence, contact The Carlson Law Firm. We can help you get the just compensation you deserve for your hearing loss lawsuit.

The Carlson Law Firm is veteran-owned and operated. Our principal office is located in Killeen, Texas, near one of the largest U.S. military bases, Fort Hood.

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