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October 12, 2012
Court awards firefighters in hearing loss case

An Illinois appeals court has upheld 2009 verdicts on behalf of nine Chicago firefighters against Federal Signal Corporation. They claimed to have suffered permanent hearing loss due to exposure to unreasonably dangerous sirens.

According to the Margolis Firm, which represented the firefighters, the case dates from 1999. It began with 700 Chicago firefighters and now includes those from 200 departments across 16 states. Additional trials are scheduled.

The recent verdicts totaled $445,000. During the trial an expert testified that the firefighters were routinely exposed to 109.8 decibels, an exposure range more than 500 percent of the permissible level for noise exposure.

Thomas E. Ryan, Jr., president of Local 2 of the Chicago Fire Fighters Union, believes the decision could save lives. “We fight fires and respond to medical emergencies, which includes finding and pulling people to safety in smoke-filled buildings. Firefighters rely on our hearing more than anybody.”

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