2016 has been a rough year for many in corporate America (brought about by their own wrongdoing), but it appears the prize for worst year ever may go to Johnson and Johnson and its subsidiaries, which have been continually hit with verdicts against the companies for claims that certain products manufactured and marketed by J&J are unsafe and have caused the injuries and deaths of thousands of folks worldwide.
In a February 2016 J&J talcum powder trial, a St. Louis jury returned a verdict in favor of the family of Jaqueline Fox for $72 million. Beasley Allen lawyer Ted Meadows, who is leading the firm’s talcum powder litigation, along with the trial team, put forth expert evidence proving that the daily use of J&J talcum powder products by Ms. Fox over many years caused her ovarian cancer and ultimately her death. Two more talc jury verdicts came in May and October 2016, with verdicts of $55 and $70 million, respectively, being returned.
In March 2016, a federal jury in Dallas found Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, DePuy Orthopedics, liable for injuries resulting from the DePuy “Pinnacle” metal-on-metal hip devices. The jury awarded five Plaintiffs a total of $498 million after agreeing the products caused complications, including metal poisoning and revision surgeries. The verdicts were reduced due to punitive damages caps in the Plaintiffs’ respective states. The trial started on Jan. 11, 2016, and took more than eight weeks before it concluded. This was the second bellwether case tried in the Pinnacle multidistrict litigation (MDL). The first was a win for the Defense in late 2014.
On Dec. 1, 2016, the third Pinnacle bellwether verdict was handed down, slamming J&J with a $1 billion combined verdict for the six Plaintiffs. There are no punitive damages caps in California, the home state of each of the six representative Plaintiffs. These cases were tried in the DePuy Pinnacle MDL before Judge Ed Kinkeade in the Northern District of Texas.
J&J will continue to appeal these verdicts and rulings and has not made any overtures of settling the remaining thousands of claims, ignoring the evidence against it and the public outcry that it take responsibility for the deleterious effects of its products.
The message to Johnson and Johnson seems clear to everyone but the dysfunctional “family company” that continues to maintain the safety of the products mentioned above and stand behind its delusions.
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