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Understanding Why Product Liability Claims Matter

“Products Liability” is a legal term which the general public rarely encounters. There are many reasons for this. Most products are safe. From design to manufacturing to distributing products, there are regulations and procedures in place designed to protect the public. But when a defective product goes on the market, innocent people can get hurt.

The recent $4.7 billion verdict against Johnson & Johnson is just one example of how innocent people were hurt, and how a products liability claim can provide families with compensation for the injuries their loved ones suffered.

THE FACTS OF THE CASE AGAINST JOHNSON & JOHNSON

Twenty-two women, along with their families, filed suit against Johnson & Johnson, claiming their ovarian cancer was linked to their use of Johnson & Johnson's baby powder and their Shower to Shower product. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that the talc powder contained asbestos. Their attorneys introduced evidence that Johnson & Johnson had known about the risk of asbestos contaminating their talc for years. This evidence includes information spanning from 1971 to the early 2000s that showed Johnson & Johnson's baby powder and Shower to Shower powders sometimes tested positive for asbestos in small amounts. There was evidence that executives, managers of the mines where the talc was obtained, doctors, scientists, and lawyers for Johnson & Johnson all worried about how to address the problem. However, no one disclosed the problem to regulators or the industry, nor the general public.

Further, the documents produced by the plaintiffs established Johnson & Johnson actively worked to influence United States regulators regarding plans to limit asbestos in cosmetic talc products like the one Johnson & Johnson sold.

The World Health Organization has said there is no safe level of asbestos exposure. The plaintiffs believe they may have inhaled the asbestos when dusting themselves with the talcum powder, and the Missouri jury agreed. The jury awarded $4.69 in damages, most of which represents punitive damages. “Punitive damages” are not compensation for direct costs related to the injury. Instead, punitive damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer. Not every jury, however, has found Johnson & Johnson responsible.

HAVE YOU BEEN INJURED OR MADE ILL BY A PRODUCT?

If you have been injured, or if you believe you have developed an illness from the use of a product, you may have a products liability claim. From products that cause cancer to products that result in the loss of an eye, a broken bone, or a foodborne illness--if you have suffered from a product's use, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries or illness. Compensation can include the cost of medical treatments, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact Frost & Kavanaugh today to discuss your situation. We may be able to help. We do not charge fees for our product liability consultations, so you have nothing to lose. Call today at (518) 730-4222.

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