Notable 2019 Products Liability Verdicts
With the emergence of capitalist economies around the world, the rate at which new and improved products hit the marketplace is greater than ever before.
Some consumers look forward to the yearly release of the newest iPhone or other electronic gadgetry. The development and production of new drugs and medical devices provide hope for a better life for those suffering from illness, disease, and disability. New features in automobiles and other machinery promise improved performance with increased safety.
In some cases, inventors and manufacturers provide us with life-changing advancements that we’ve never even dreamed of.
While many of these products improve our lives, some can cause harm. When a person suffers harm as a result of products liability, large verdicts and settlements can follow.
In this article, we’ll discuss some notable products liability results from 2019. Keep in mind that jury verdicts mentioned below may not be final. Judges sometimes amend jury awards, and both trial and appellate courts can grant new trials if mistakes were made.
Roundup Gets Hammered
If you have ever had pesky weeds growing in a flowerbed or sprouting through the cracks in the driveway or sidewalk, you may have turned to an herbicide to remedy the problem.
Roundup is the product name of one such weed killer, which is produced by Monsanto, now a subsidiary of Bayer. Farmers love Roundup because it can kill weeds without killing the main crop.
Roundup uses a chemical called glyphosate. While the compound has been approved by many regulatory bodies, there is disagreement as to its safety. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified the chemical to be “probably carcinogenic in humans.”
In May of this year, a jury ruled in favor of a California couple who contended that Roundup caused them to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In total, the jury awarded in excess of $2 billion against Monsanto.
According to National Public Radio, this represented the third California verdict against Monsanto resulting from Roundup usage. In March, a jury awarded a plaintiff $80 million, and in August 2018, a jury awarded a plaintiff $289 million.
Johnson & Johnson Held Liable for Causing Mesothelioma
Terry Leavitt, a California woman, filed suit against Johnson & Johnson after developing mesothelioma. Ms. Leavitt contended that asbestos in Johnson & Johnson talcum-powder products caused the cancer. She used both Shower to Shower and Johnson’s Baby Powder in the 1960s and 1970s. The jury awarded $29 million.
This is not the first adverse verdict against Johnson & Johnson on this type of claim, and Reuters states that there are currently more than 13 thousand cases related to talc pending against Johnson & Johnson.
Big Verdict Against Ford Motor Company for Design Defect
In Alabama, plaintiff Travaris Smith was injured when the Ford Explorer in which he was a passenger rolled over and crashed. Smith suffered serious injuries, including paralysis. He sued the driver for negligence and sued Ford for both a design defect and negligence.
In February 2019, a jury ruled in the plaintiff’s favor against both defendants and awarded the plaintiff in excess of $151,000,000.
R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Liable for Design Defect
In Florida, Lois Stucky’s estate sued R. J. Reynolds Tobacco after Ms. Stucky died from lung cancer. She had started smoking when she was 17 and died in her 50s. The jury found a design defect, and even after finding the plaintiff 50 percent comparatively negligent, awarded her estate $16.2 million.
Call with Questions
At Nelson MacNeil Rayfield, we believe that society will only be protected when wrongful actors are held accountable for their actions. Our experienced products liability attorneys stand ready to fight wrongdoers, whether large or small. If you’ve been injured, you probably realize that the law can be complicated and have questions. Call us at any time and we will be happy to answer them.