When it comes to product liability cases, history provides more than a few memorable lawsuits. History repeats itself so if you found these cases incredulous before;then odds are, you’ll see them play out in a courtroom with product liability attorneys again at some point.
Who can forget the General Motors many lawsuits? This manufacturer has faced one lawsuit after another in recent years, mostly due to faulty designs and supplies. Remember the faulty ignition switches from a few years ago? They could, and did, shut off the engine while a driver was behind the wheel, and the car was in gear. Another challenge the company faced was the faulty airbags. Just the faulty switches along have resulted in at least 13 deaths and no fewer than 31 automobile accidents.
In the 1990s, smack-dab in the middle of the Mississippi summer, one small town district attorney was making good. What this lawyer could not have known was just how far his case against tobacco companies would bring him. In fact, his efforts landed several of his legal counterparts in prison for skimming off the top of the tobacco money settlements and ultimately ended up in Hollywood, where a movie was made and put Pascagoula, Mississippi on the map. By 2002, the cigarette maker Philip Morris found itself with hundreds, if not thousands, of lawsuits, including a massive lawsuit filed by a woman with lung cancer and claiming it was the cigarette maker’s products that caused cancer.
She argued, successfully at that, her tobacco addiction was caused by the tobacco company’s failure to warn her of the risks of smoking. The company was ordered to pay punitive damages of a massive $28 billion and $850,000 in compensatory damages. The cigarette maker tried for nearly a decade with one appeal after another before the amount was reduced to $28 million.
Dow Corning Breast Implants
In the late 1990s, women across the country were living in fear their breast implants could be leaking. Dow Corning and Corning Inc., also with growing concerns, settled with women who sued for the amount of $2 billion with another $2.2 billion being paid to future victims. The company was allowed to bypass admission of its products being faulty and the women were able to have their implants removed or replaced.
There are always a number of lawsuits in various stages of the court system, and one of the more current suits includes a renowned company that provides products for babies. Johnson and Johnson were hit with not just one, but two lawsuits about its talcum powder. A link was established between the powder and ovarian cancer. The verdicts in those two cases came around $127 million with more coming. Already in 2017, there are literally thousands of new suits being filed. The company has not yet filed for bankruptcy protection, but most agree it’s coming.