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Texas judge put in earplugs at a shooting range. Now he can barely hear, suit says

A lawsuit says a shooting range (not the one pictured) didn’t have the right equipment to reduce high noise levels.
A lawsuit says a shooting range (not the one pictured) didn’t have the right equipment to reduce high noise levels. AP

Robert “Bobby” Flores plugged up both ears before he began shooting a Beretta pistol at the southern Texas shooting range, a few days before Christmas in 2015, court documents said.

The text on the box of “Super Leight” shooter’s earplugs indicated they’d protect his hearing from the loud sound of gunfire, according to the original lawsuit filed in state district court, the Monitor reported.

But, amid the firing of pistols and large caliber weapons, Flores instantly felt a loss of hearing in his ear when he finished at the shooting range, the newspaper said.

Now, Flores, a local district court judge, alleges in a federal lawsuit filed in February that he lost 65 percent of his hearing in both ears. And the “permanent” hearing loss has required him to wear hearing aids to conduct his duties as a judge, the suit said.

Flores says that Honeywell Safety Products USA Inc., the manufacturer, didn’t give “adequate” warnings and instructions on the uses and limitations of the earplugs. The shooting range erred in letting patrons fire rifles and large caliber pistols near each other, without the right equipment to reduce high noise levels, according to the lawsuit.

But lawyers for Point Blank Sporting Goods said that Flores’ hearing loss was caused by his own negligence – and Honeywell’s earplugs are also to blame for his injuries, the Monitor reported.

Attorneys for Honeywell denied the lawsuit’s claims, according to the newspaper. A company spokesman told the Monitor that it “stands behind the efficacy of all our safety products.”

Flores wants more than $1 million in damages, the lawsuit said.

Court records show a hearing in the civil case is set for next month.

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