Top 15 Product Liability Lawsuits in the United States
Top 15 Product Liability Lawsuits in the United States
Nov 4, 2020
Americans spend around $13 trillion on consumer products every year. We are consistent buyers of “things.” We buy things for work, things for recreation, things for our home, things that we need to survive, etc. Importantly, Americans purchase their material goods with the expectation that those goods will function as the manufacturer and seller intended. We also expect that purchasing goods will not result in any harm. Unfortunately, however, this is not always the case, and the United States has established product liability laws to help protect consumers from faulty or fake products. There are many ways in which a product can be harmful to a consumer, such as defective design or flawed manufacturing. A seller or producer of a product can also harm consumers by failing to warn them about any risks that might be associated with use of the product.
When a faulty steering component in your new car results in you running off the road and breaking a leg, you are entitled to pursue legal recourse. When you’re cooking dinner and your pressure cooker explodes and causes permanent eye damage, a product liability suit can help pay for your medical bills and future lost wages.
Product liability lawsuits are not limited to any particular type of product, and cover everything from power cords and coffee makers to semi-trucks and airplanes, without any price or size restrictions. The faulty, defective, or ill-labeled product can be something laypeople use on a daily basis, something used in the industrial context, or something a professional uses when performing a service (i.e. an IUD birth control implant inserted by a gynecologist).
Do I Have a Product Liability Lawsuit?
If you are harmed by a product that you purchased or that was used during the process of someone else providing a service for you, you can file a lawsuit in civil court to recover monetary compensation. Manufacturers and other parties who helped create or sell the product can be defendants in product liability lawsuits because they are liable for the harm a product caused to the plaintiff (the victim bringing the lawsuit). Defendants in product liability lawsuits can be forced to pay monetary damages for various types of harm the victim may have endured (or will endure), such as medical expenses, lost wages (past and future), pain and suffering, and more.
Not only do product liability laws help compensate victims, but the laws also provide accountability for product retailers, manufacturers, designers, and distributors.
Product liability lawsuits can vary greatly on a case-by-case basis in terms of type, circumstances, and severity of harm. A simple lawsuit may involve a manufacturer recalling a faulty product, whereas a more complex case may involve a product that injured a number of people and the manufacturer denies any wrongdoing.
Regardless of the complexity of the lawsuit or the type of product in question, injured victims are often entitled to large sums of money meant to compensate for their harm. Let’s take a look at some of the largest product liability lawsuits that led to substantial damages awards for injured victims.
Contact our top-rated team of expert product liability attorneys online or by phone today to pursue justice and secure a financial award for damages.
15 of The Largest Product Liability Lawsuits in the United States
- In the case of Martinez v. Johnson & Johnson from 2018, a Missouri jury awarded $4.6 billion to product liability victims. 22 victim plaintiffs sued Johnson & Johnson for its faulty talcum powder, which caused ovarian cancer in women who regularly used the product. Each of the victims was awarded $25 million. The core allegation in the case was that the women’s ovarian cancer was caused by exposure to asbestos in Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder. The jurors decided on the $4.14 billion punitive damage amount by multiplying the $70 million that Johnson & Johnson earned selling baby powder in one year by the 43 years that transpired since the company claimed the powder did not contain asbestos. The named plaintiff, Cecilia Martinez, said she hoped that Johnson & Johnson would “make changes to protect mothers and babies.” Martinez was diagnosed with cancer in 2011.
- In Johnson v. Monsanto Co., a California jury awarded Dewayne Johnson $289 million in damages after he was harmed by Monsanto’s Roundup product. Mr. Johnson’s lawsuit was the first of the Roundup-cancer-lawsuits to make it to trial. He alleged that his exposure to the Roundup weed killer caused him to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Around $39 million of the award was to compensate Mr. Johnson for his injuries and related harm, and the remaining $250 million was punitive damages for Monsanto’s failure to warn consumers about the cancer-causing properties of Roundup.
- In the 2018 case of Lanzo v. Imerys Talc America, a New Jersey jury awarded plaintiff Mr. Lanzo $117 million in damages. Mr. Lanzo alleged in his lawsuit that he developed cancer from his exposure to asbestos in the defendant company’s talc-based products.
- In 2002, Philip Morris, (now Altria Group Inc.) was sued by a woman who had developed lung cancer. She alleged that her cancer was the result of smoking the company’s cigarettes. The basis of her case was that Phillip Morris failed to warn her that their cigarettes could cause cancer and nicotine addiction. The jury ordered the company to pay $28 billion in punitive damages and $850,000 in compensatory damages. Philllip Morris appealed and, many years later, the total amount was reduced to a “mere” $28 billion.
- In August 1999, the families of six victims sued General Motors (GM) claiming that a faulty gas tank in GM’s 1979 Chevrolet Malibu caused explosions that killed the victims. The plaintiffs were awarded $4.9 billion in damages.
- In October 2019, a Philadelphia jury determined that Johnson & Johnson was liable for deceptively marketing its antipsychotic drug, Risperdal. The lawsuit was brought by male plaintiffs who had developed gynecomastia (a condition that causes breast tissue growth in young males) after taking the drug. Risperdal was intended to treat symptoms of Autism. The crux of the lawsuit was that the company had falsely marketed the drug and failed to warn patients about the side effects. The lawsuit also accused the company of falsely marketing the drug to children and failing to warn doctors of the side effects. The jury awarded the plaintiffs $8 billion in damages.
- In another groundbreaking case against Johnson & Johnson from 2019, an Oklahoma judge awarded the plaintiff, the state of Oklahoma, $572 million in damages (later reduced to $465 million) for the company’s role in the opioid crisis. Many states have brought lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson for its role in the sale and marketing of pain medications, but this was the first case where the company was deemed liable.
- In Anderson v. General Motors, a California class-action lawsuit from 1985, the jury awarded six burn victims $4.9 billion. The jury found that GM was liable for their injuries due to a defective fuel system in its vehicles.
- In March 2008, GM faced another class-action product liability lawsuit in which 35 million consumers claimed that GM used a harmful chemical in its Dex-Coolant that caused engine leakage and damage. The consumers were collectively awarded $20 billion.
- In 1998, Dow Corning settled with consumers in a class-action lawsuit for $2 billion. The consumers claimed that their silicone breast implants—made by the defendant—were rupturing and causing injury, bodily damage, scleroderma, and even death.
- Also in 1998, the Owens Corning Corp. settled for $1.2 billion in an asbestos-related product liability lawsuit. Around 176,000 plaintiffs claimed that the corporation’s asbestos building materials caused them to develop mesothelioma cancer. Some of the plaintiffs were families of victims who had died from the cancer. Many additional mesothelioma-related cases have since been filed.
- In July 2018, a Minnesota company, 3M, settled with the U.S. Army and agreed to pay $9.1 million for selling defective dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs. The military alleged that 3M knew about the defect but interfered with testing data to conceal the issue. Injuries sustained by military victims (and other victims since the lawsuit was initially filed) included tinnitus and hearing loss.
- In 2012, the first of many transvaginal mesh lawsuits made it to trial. This lawsuit resulted in the manufacturing company paying around $1.5 billion in settlements to 100,000 claimants over the subsequent years. The product, transvaginal mesh, is an implant that the medical community uses to treat stress-based incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. The mesh, however, caused adverse side effects in thousands of women. The manufacturer, claimants allege, did not properly test the product because the mesh caused vaginal scarring, fistulas, and severe pain in many patients.
- In the 2016 case of Andrews v. DePuy Orthopaedics Inc., a Texas jury awarded the plaintiff $1 billion in damages. The jury found that the defendants negligently designed a hip implant, and then failed to warn surgeons about the risks associated with the product. After this lawsuit, the company ceased selling this particular type of implant.
- In July 2017, a jury rendered a $150 million verdict against AbbVie, the producers of AndroGel testosterone gel. The jury found that the AbbVie had misrepresented the risks associated with the gel, which included heart attacks, blood clots, strokes, and more. This verdict is unique because the entire $150 million award was in punitive damages. No compensatory damages were ever awarded.
Schedule an appointment online for a free consultation today, or call us directly to speak to our top-rated, expert product liability attorneys.
Finding The Best Product Liability Lawyer to Represent You
Attorneys with experience in personal injury claims typically represent plaintiff victims in product liability lawsuits. At Dordulian Law Group (DLG), we have recovered over $100 million for injured clients throughout the years. When choosing a personal attorney to handle your product liability suit, you want a team with talent, dedication, and experience like DLG. Perhaps most importantly, you want to be sure you feel like the attorney truly cares about your situation and considers your case to be of utmost priority. With DLG, you can be confident you have a firm on your side that is ready and able to fight and recover the largest possible damages award for your claim.
Why Is Dordulian Law Group The Best Law Firm For Your Product Liability Claim?
Dordulian Law Group offers a team of highly qualified personal injury attorneys for clients with product liability claims. Samuel Dordulian-former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County—and his team have decades of experience representing victims in various types of personal injury cases, including defective product lawsuits.
DLG has secured multi-million dollar settlements and judgments for clients. Moreover, DLG attorneys provide clients with comfort and security through discretion, respect, and tireless advocacy for justice on their behalf.
Here at DLG, we understand that each client has a unique case and a unique story to tell, and we will approach your case accordingly. Our goal is to guide you through the legal process and secure the largest possible settlement or verdict for your product liability lawsuit.
We are available any time, any day, to talk with you about your potential product liability or personal injury case. Contact us online or by phone at 855-804-9636 for a free consultation.