There are many products that we use in our daily lives, and thousands more that we have to choose from on store shelves. Recently, in the case of Fox v. Johnson & Johnson, a North Dakota jury returned a verdict in favor of a group of plaintiffs who brought a wrongful death claim against common household goods product maker Johnson & Johnson. The plaintiffs alleged that Johnson & Johnson's talcum powder based products caused their mother to develop cancer and that the cancer ultimately took her life.
When a product results in an injury or death, the victim or the victim's surviving family members can bring a product liability action against the manufacturer. There are three ways that plaintiffs can recover under this cause of action. First, the plaintiffs can demonstrate that the product at issue was designed in an unreasonably unsafe manner. Second, the plaintiffs can show that although the product was reasonably safe in its design, the particular unit that the victim received suffered from a defect during the manufacturing process that rendered the product unreasonably dangerous.
Finally, a plaintiff can show that a product was not reasonably safe because it failed to include proper warnings or instructions on how to use the product. Plaintiffs are not limited to choosing one of these three theories of recovery can assert all three of them where applicable.
The plaintiff in this action asserted multiple theories of product liability, including a claim that the talcum powder-based products were unreasonably dangerous and that Johnson & Johnson failed to provide proper warnings about developing cancer as a result of using the products.
At trial, the plaintiffs submitted internal company documents suggesting that the company knew about the carcinogenic effects of its talcum powder products for several years. They also offered evidence establishing that their mother had consistently used Johnson & Johnson products for a number of decades. Florida Statutes Section 768.16 allows surviving family members to recover compensation for the loss of a loved one, including funeral expenses, burial expenses, and for the loss of their loved one's companionship, society, and support.
The jury's verdict reflected $10 million in compensatory damages to the surviving heirs and $62 million in punitive damages. The latter category of damages is designed to punish a defendant whose conduct was willful, reckless, or wanton and to act as a deterrent against other manufacturers engaging in similar behaviors.
Now, Johnson & Johnson faces over 1,200 similar lawsuits brought by women who have developped cancer as a result of usng the products, in addition to a number of wrongful death suits brought by surviving family members.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries as the result of using a dangerous or defective product, you may be entitled to compensation. At Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, our dedicated team of product liability and wrongful death lawyers provide compassionate, personalized, and aggressive legal representation to clients throughout Southwest Florida, including Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and Naples. We offer potential clients a free consultation to help them learn more about the legal rights and remedies that may be available. Our team stands by each client through every step of the litigation process or settlement negotiations to ensure that they receive the settlement or the judgment that they are entitled to. Call us now at 1-800-283-7442 or contact us online to set up your consultation now.