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2018 Top Product Liability Cases

— December 11, 2018

Defective products injure thousands of Americans every year. Depending on the product and the damage/injury that it caused, identifying the liable parties can be extremely complicated. There are a number of important product liability cases, many of which reached a verdict or settlement recently. Highlighted below are some of the top cases and issues so far in 2018:

Talcum Powder Lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson: The biggest verdict on defective product came from the recent $4.69 billion verdict from a Missouri jury against Johnson & Johnson, supporting claims from 22 women that the talcum powder caused their ovarian cancer. While the medical experts are still investigating the link between talc products and cancer causes, many juries have awarded the plaintiffs millions of dollars in compensation.

There are more than 9,000 cases in both state and federal courts against Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder. Below are a few high-profile verdicts on the Talcum Powder cases:

  • 22 Women ($4.69 billion, 2018): Learn more
  • Eva Echeverria ($417 million, 2017): The first ovarian cancer case in California. J&J loses $417 million. The case is Echeverria et al v. Johnson & Johnson, Los Angeles Superior Court, No. BC628228.
  • Lois Slemp ($110.4 million, 2017): The case is Slemp v. Johnson & Johnson, 22nd Judicial Circuit of Missouri, No. 1422-CC09326-01.
  • Jacqueline Fox ($72 million, 2016): The case is Hogans (Fox) et al v. Johnson & Johnson et al, Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, Missouri, No. 1422-CC09012.
  • Gloria Ristesund ($55 million, 2016): The case is Hogans (Ristesund) et al v. Johnson & Johnson et al, case no. 1422-CC09012 in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis in Missouri.
  • Deborah Giannecchini ($70 million, 2016): The verdict includes $5 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages against J&J. The case is consolidated under the caption Hogans (Giannecchini) v. Johnson & Johnson, 1422-CC09012-01, Circuit Court, St. Louis City, Missouri (St. Louis).

Roundup Lawsuit against Monsanto: On August 10, a San Francisco jury found Monsanto liable in a lawsuit by a former school groundkeeper, who blamed his frequent use of Roundup (the herbicide glyphosate) for giving him non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer that attacks the lymph nodes and the immune system.

  • The verdict awarded the plaintiff, Mr. Johnson, $289 million in compensatory and punitive damages. Learn more
  • Monsanto appealed and was later denied for a new trial in October, giving Mr. Johnson a final award of $78.5 million in damages.
  • As a result, Monsanto is faced with 8,700 lawsuits against its products

    Syringes prepped for use; image by Nathan Forget, via Flickr, CC BY 2.0, no changes.
    Syringes prepped for use; image by Nathan Forget, via Flickr, CC BY 2.0, no changes.

Testosterone Lawsuit against AbbVie: Thousands of lawsuits have been filed by men against testosterone replacement therapies — such as AndroGel, made by AbbVie, a hormone gel for treating low libido symptoms. The lawsuits claim these testosterone replacement therapy products caused dangerous side effects including stroke, heart attack, blood clots, and other deadly complications.

  • In May 2018, the first testosterone lawsuit verdict ordered AbbVie to pay $3.2 million
  • In June, Endo Pharmaceuticals announced putting $200 million aside to cover testosterone settlements
  • In September, AbbVie announced a possible settlement for its testosterone lawsuits

Opioids Lawsuits: Opioid prescriptions more than tripled since 1999. As a result, more than 1,250 opioid lawsuits have been filed in federal courts against major pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and drug makers, seeking damages for the costs of battling the opioid crisis. Many cases are still in the early stages. However, as companies face more and more lawsuits, they may be pressured to settle. A few historical multi-million-dollar settlements of related claims are listed below:

  • Mallinckrodt (one of the largest manufacturers of the opioid painkiller oxycodone) settled for $35 million, 2017
  • McKesson Corp (one of the largest U.S. distributors of pharmaceutical drugs) announced a settlement of $150 million to resolve an investigation regarding whether the company failed to report suspicious orders of addictive drugs, 2017
  • Similar to McKesson, Cardinal Health settled with the federal government for $44 million, after paid $20 million to West Virginia for failing to report suspicious orders

These are just a few high-profile cases involving catastrophic injuries from the use of a defective product. As you can see, the product liability lawsuit is a highly specialized area of law. If a product doesn’t function as it should or didn’t include proper warning or instruction, there might be a claim for damages.

Franklin D. Azar & Associates is one of the largest law firms of its kind in Colorado. We employ more than fifty attorneys, devoted to everything from car accident and bad faith insurance claims to worker’s compensation settlement and complex multi-state litigation, including various class action lawsuits and product liability cases. Over the past thirty years, we have recovered more than $1.5 billion on behalf of thousands of clients.

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