Johnson & Johnson Ordered To Pay $1 Billion in Products Liability Case
On December 1st, a jury ordered Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. to pay more than $1 billion to patients who had to have the company’s Pinnacle artificial hips removed due to alleged defects that the company knew about, but failed to warn doctors and patients of. The $1 billion verdict includes approximately $30 million in damages for six injured plaintiffs and over $1 billion in punitive damages due to the injuries the products caused, according to Bloomberg News.
This particular hip implant product was designed with a metal socket rather than the traditional polyethylene or ceramic socket; a metal-on-metal design that caused the ball head and socket to rub against each other and lead to corrosion and bone and tissue deterioration over time for patients. Plaintiffs also claim that the hips leached chromium and cobalt into their bloodstreams, deteriorating bone and tissue, and that the company knew that this particular design would cause such issues, but moved ahead with the product anyway.
Products Liability: The Law
Florida law defines a products liability action as a civil action based upon a theory of strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty, nuisance, or similar theories caused by the manufacture, construction, design, formulation, installation, preparation, or assembly of a product. This includes actions that allege that injuries received by a plaintiff in an accident were greater than those injuries the plaintiff would have received but for the defective product. It is the substance of the action which determines whether that action is a products liability action.
However, in Florida, the trier of fact (i.e. the jury) is instructed to consider any fault of the plaintiff which could have contributed to the accident when apportioning fault between the plaintiff and defendant (company).
Many Lawsuits Left For Johnson & Johnson
According to data compiled by Bloomberg, this is the third-largest overall jury award in 2016 and the largest punitive award this year, arguably sending a message to Johnson & Johnson that it would be best for the company to settle the other ongoing cases still pending. Just this year alone, six of the seven largest product liability verdicts have been against Johnson & Johnson, which includes three lawsuits just against talc products that plaintiffs claim caused them to suffer from ovarian cancer.
In addition to this particular lawsuit, the company still faces close to 9,000 additional lawsuits just on the mishandling of these particular hips, which they stopped selling three years ago after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration tightened regulations surrounding the artificial hips.
Dedicated Products Liability Lawyers Serving Fort Lauderdale and Surrounding Areas
If you or a loved one has been injured or otherwise harmed by a product, contact one of our experienced product liability lawyers at Friedland & Associates in Fort Lauderdale today to find out more in a free consultation. We’re here to ensure that justice is done for victims of product liability injuries.