In a recent Texas ruling, Johnson and Johnson was ordered to pay $1,000,000,000 (1 billion) for hip implants that were found to be faulty. The jury, in that case, found that the company had hidden flaws in its artificial hips. When the patients suffered from the defects, the hips had to be surgically removed. In hiding the defects, Johnson and Johnson not only failed to warn patients but also failed to warn doctors who installed the implants.
The jury awarded $30,000,000 in actual damages and over one billion in punitive damages. A verdict of this order is sending a strong message about the dangers of defective products and acts as a strong signal to stop using these defective products.
At this point, the case will be appealed by Johnson and Johnson. In previous defective products cases, the appellate courts have sometimes found that awards where the punitive damages are excessive when they are more than 10 times greater than the actual damages. In these cases, the punitive damages were normally limited to 10 times the actual damages. In the case of Johnson and Johnson, that may result in an award of 900 million in punitive damages.
So far, six of the seven largest defective product lawsuits this year have been against Johnson and Johnson. It appears then, that juries are not agreeing with Johnson and Johnson about their respective defenses to the damages that their products have caused and that they are agreeing with the injured parties.
Winning a Defective Product Case
Generally, in a products liability claim, the following things need to be proven in order to win:
- A person was injured
- The product was defective
- The defect caused the injury
- The product was being used as intended
Common Defenses in Defective Product Cases
Some of the common defenses to defective product lawsuits include:
- The Injured Party assuming the risk of using the product, knowing that the product could lead to an injury or malfunction
- The Injured party was negligent
- The product was not the cause of the injury
What is unique about the Johnson and Johnson case is that the basis of the case stems from allegations that Johnson and Johnson knew about the defects and covered them up. These allegations of fraud differentiate the Johnson and Johnson cases from other products liability cases and seem to be resulting in extraordinarily high verdicts for the injured parties.
This case makes it clear that Texas juries are interested in holding large companies responsible for corporate decisions that harm consumers. If you have been injured by a defective product in Texas, it is important to talk to an attorney about your injuries and to receive advice about the best way to proceed with your case.
To schedule a no obligation consultation with our attorneys at Argento Law, we welcome your call to (713) 225-5050. English and Spanish are spoken here.