Posted by Claudine Rosca.
Endo International PLC is a generics and pharmaceutical company that delivers medicines to patients in the fields of urology, men’s health, etc. Despite their professionalism, their products allegedly were defective resulting in liability. Product liability is the responsibility that a manufacturer incurs because they sell or create a faulty product. In 2014, Endo “agreed to pay more than $400 milion to resolve lawsuit allegations.”
Their vaginal-mesh implants had eroded in their female patients which cause painful side effects. The devices are used to “support internal organs and treat incontinence,” which is a lack of control over urination or defecation. Officer Rajiv De Silva “said the company way adding $400 million to its $1.2 billion liability reserve for the devices.” The company was blamed for organ damage in women, combining to over 10,000 suits. The issue with the company was their lack of “stricter safety requirements because they are high-risk devices.” As a result of the 2014 issues among companies such as Endo and Johnson & Johnson, the FDA ordered “vaginal-implant makers to study rates of organ damage and complications linked to the devices.”
Following the allegations in 2014, Endo continues to pay millions to resolve the sums of lawsuits against the company’s vaginal-mesh implants. Recently, Endo set aside $755 million for the eroded implants which constitutes almost $2.6 billion that was paid to wipe out cases. Their Dublin-based Endo was shut down after a piling of complaints against their devices. Other previously named companies continue to face thousands of lawsuits from women who argue against their devices. The U.S. FDA continues to increase regulations on mesh inserts but companies continue to manufacture and sell faulty products.
Claudine is an accounting and IT major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2021.
Posted by Nicholas Lillig.
On October 20th, a judge tossed out a $417 million jury award to a woman who claimed that she developed ovarian cancer by using Johnson & Johnson talcum-based powder for feminine hygiene. The lawsuit is continuing even after the woman, Eva Echeverria, has died. Her attorney released a statement saying, “We will continue to fight on behalf of all women who have been impacted by this dangerous product.” Under clear scrutiny for their product, Johnson & Johnson has most recently been hit with a multimillion-dollar jury verdict. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Maren Nelson granted the company’s request for a new trial, saying there were errors and jury misconduct in the previous trial that ended with the award two months ago.” She also ruled that there was not enough convincing evidence that Johnson & Johnson acted with malice and that the award for the damages was far too excessive. This was the fourth time that Johnson & Johnson had to go to court in order to address this matter.
The product, Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, uses a talcum based powder in which is used to treat diaper rashes. It is commonly found in soap, antiperspirant, toothpaste, makeup and even bath bombs. Many people use this powder to fight inflammation on their skin or for personal hygiene. The reason as to why this company is brought under the microscope is to debate whether the talc based powder can cause ovarian cancer in women. There is evidence on both sides of the argument for how it can effectively cause ovarian cancer. A report that was released in May of 2016 determined that 63 percent of women with ovarian cancer had used talc. Another previous study reports, “In 1971, four OB/GYNs found talc particles in more than 75 percent of the ovarian tumors they investigated”. Scientific studies and the juries involved point to yes, this product is liable to cause ovarian cancer. Evidence against the case states that the exact relationship is unclear as tumors can develop regardless of whether talc is applied in the situation.
The issue is that for over 100 years, Johnson & Johnson has been marketing their baby powder to treat diaper rash and as a daily feminine hygiene product. In the most recent cases, juries are pointing towards the evidence that it does cause ovarian cancer. Eva Echeverria and her attorney believe Johnson & Johnson failed to warn the public about “talcum powders potential cancer risks”. A spokeswoman for J&J said, “Ovarian cancer is a devastating disease – but it is not caused by the cosmetic-grade talc we have used in Johnson’s Baby Powder for decades. The science is clear and we will continue to defend the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder as we prepare for additional trials in the U.S.” The company has decided that it will continue to fight for their product in further trials.
Nicholas is a finance major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2020.
Posted by Gabrielle Vanadia.
Recently, there has been a lawsuit filed in federal court against three major American corporations for supposedly doing business with the Iraqi government during the Iraq War. This lawsuit was filed by lawyers from a start-up firm led by Ryan Sparacino and the litigation firm of Kellogg Hansen, on behalf of members of the American military that were killed or injured in attacks during the Iraq War. General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer are three of the major corporations being accused of providing free drugs and medical devices that funded the Shiite militia. Other companies accused of contributing are the European drug makers AstraZeneca and Roche Holding A.G. The lawsuit filed provided contracts between these companies and Iraqi government, as well as “leaked diplomatic cables, press accounts, and the testimony of informants.”
The lawsuit claims that the companies knew that the Iraqi health ministry, who they were providing with drugs, had become a terrorist organization. Upon knowledge of this information, the corporations should have terminated their contracts or changed them to prevent corruption, since it is illegal under United States law to knowingly fund terrorist groups. However, a Pfizer spokeswoman said that the company “denies any wrongdoing” and that their mission was to “provide medicines to patients to help better their lives;” while Johnson & Johnson has completely declined to comment on this matter.
In my opinion, the actions of these companies are completely unacceptable. They willingly and knowingly funded a terrorist group that was attacking United States soldiers. American soldiers were in Iraq to help rebuild and regain the country for the Iraqis after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. However, instead of American companies backing and funding their own troops, they helped the enemy. The militia group that U.S. soldiers were fighting were commonly referred to as the “Pill Army” because their “fighters were often paid with prescription medicines and used hospitals… as staging areas for death squads.” Many of these death squads funded by drugs from American companies killed American soldiers. If I was an employee of one of the accused American corporations I would be embarrassed and ashamed of my company’s actions.
Gabrielle is a public relations major with a business administration minor at Seton Hall University, Class of 2019.
In February 2016, a jury awarded a woman $10 million in compensatory damages and $62 million in punitive damages in a suit against Johnson & Johnson for causing her cervical cancer. She died in 2015 after prolonged use of baby powder made by the company.
In its ruling vacating the judgment, the appeals court cited a recent Supreme Court ruling disallowing lawsuits in states where the plaintiff is not a resident and where the injury did not occur. The plaintiff in this case is from Alabama and sued in Missouri.
“Jim Onder, who is representing many plaintiffs in the lawsuits, has argued that Missouri is a proper jurisdiction because Johnson & Johnson packages and labels some products in Missouri.” According to the article, most research indicates talc, which is a soft mineral, has a minimum correlation to ovarian cancer. In other lawsuits, jurors awarded plaintiffs more than $300 million combined, and the company intends to have all these rulings overturned.
Posted by Nick Mitwasi.
Throughout the years, there has been numerous lawsuits towards Johnson & Johnson for their use of talcum power in their products, specifically baby powder, for women have been suing the company on claims that it is the link to their ovarian cancer. In this year alone, the company was forced to give up $55 million in May to a woman in St. Louis, Missouri and $72 million to another family also in St. Louis. In addition, just a couple of days ago, a woman was awarded $70 million in California against Johnson & Johnson. Yet, in all of these cases J&J has continued to defend that their product is completely safe.
Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder has dominated the market in the past, and thus is the main reason as to why it is going to defend its products in the mist of all these lawsuits they are being slammed with. In the first case in which Johnson & Johnson was involved, they were sued by Diane Berg for gross negligence and fraud; she was a frequent user of the product and never was informed that long term use of the product can cause cancer. After she sued, the company offered an “out of court settlement of $1.3 million” (Huffington Post); however, she declined and simply wanted to inform the public through her suing the company that this is something people must be informed about.
The main problem, though, with all these lawsuits is that there is no scientific evidence that the product does indeed cause cancer; it is the fact that Johnson & Johnson are not informing their customers that there is a possibility that their product will do harm. This has been damaging the company’s reputation as more and more lawsuits are being filed to different law firms about the same situation. This is still an ongoing situation and time will only tell to see how Johnson & Johnson reacts to the overflow of negativity towards one of their mainstay products.
Nick is a student at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2019.
Posted by Sydney J. Kpundeh.
The famous over the counter drug Tylenol was at the center of a case that was brought before a Pennsylvania federal district court in early November. The case involved a lady who had taken Extra Strength Tylenol for many years to treat various conditions. In Mid-August of 2010, she underwent lumbar laminectomy surgery and afterwards she was instructed by her doctor to take Regular Strength Tylenol in conjunction with Lorcet, a prescription drug containing acetaminophen, but not to exceed 4 grams of acetaminophen in a 24-hour period. For approximately two weeks, she used the Regular Strength Tylenol, as instructed, until the bottle ran out, after which she began using Extra Strength Tylenol. At some point, she stopped taking the Lorcet due to its side effects. On August 29, she unfortunately was diagnosed with acute liver failure and died two days later.
After her passing, her sister filed a products liability lawsuit, “including claims for defective design and negligent failure to warn against McNeil, which manufactures the drug, and Johnson & Johnson, McNeil’s parent company.” Her sister insisted that the defendants knew that Tylenol could cause liver damage when taken at or just above the recommended dose. Also, she claimed defendants were liable for the her sister’s death because they had failed to warn her of the “risks of injury and/or death.” The defendants moved for summary judgment on the ground that the sister had not offered sufficient evidence to support her failure to warn claim.
Under the Alabama Extended Manufacturer’s Liability Doctrine, there are two factors that must be shown to find the scope of a manufacturer’s legal duty. The first is that there is some potential danger and the second is that there is a possibility of a different design to avert that danger. In this case, sufficient evidence was presented to show that the manufacturers knew or should have known that Extra Strength Tylenol could cause liver damage. The facts also showed that the manufacturers were working to find a substitute. Finally, the evidence also showed that the plaintiff’s sister died of acetaminophen-induced liver failure after taking Extra Strength Tylenol as directed.
Sydney is a political science major with a minor in legal studies at Seton Hall University, Class of 2016.
Posted by Mary Bonatakis.
As the Volkswagen case unwinds it is causing many debates. Volkswagen is currently being charged with selling 11 million diesel vehicles equipped with software to cheat test put in place to limit the emission of gasses that are harmful to our earth. After this information was released over 350 lawsuits have been filed against Volkswagen. With a case this large the first major debate is where this trial should take place. It has been decided that these cases should all be heard in the same location.
The venue of the hearing is a very important part of the case. Many lawyers have different suggestions as to where this case should be heard. Charles S. Zimmerman a lawyer in Minneapolis believes the case should be heard in Detroit because it is considered “Motor City”, Benjamin Galdston, a San Diego lawyer believes the case should take place in Los Angeles because many other Volkswagen lawsuits have taken place there, while Warren Burns, a lawyer in Dallas believes the case should be held in Alexandria Virginia because the carmaker’s United States headquarters is nearby. The final decision as to where the case should take place is still undecided.
Once the location is chosen the judge will appoint the lawyers to represent the plaintiffs. This approach has been used many times in the past in big cases such as in automotive or drug cases. This approach concerns legal scholars because one group of lawyers can dominate the case and the lawyers will benefit more from the case then the clients. “One recent study found that about two dozen firms played leading roles in 10 or more major lawsuits. Five of those firms spearheaded 20 or more” (Meier). Firms like this are considered “repeat players” and have been earning the most money from their fees. Many people believe having firms like these take on the cases will create an unfavorable environment for plaintiffs.
Volkswagen released that they have put aside 7.3 billion dollars to handle the scandal. This money will not only be used to handle these cases, but also actions from regulators and the state attorneys general. In the law suits filed the common argument is that Volkswagen lied to them with false information about the cars performance. The plaintiffs are asking to be reimbursed for the premium prices of the car and to take the cars back. With this much money at stake it is driving lawyers to want to be involved in this case.
Large cases like this are very hard to handle. With over 7 billion dollars on the line lawyers have more room to take use the case to their advantage and make a large profit off their clients. In a Johnson & Johnson case in 2013 involving a flawed artificial hip, any client who chose not to hire their own lawyer and use one appointed by the court were forced to forfeit 29% of their reward to payout the lawyer appointed to them. The payout was approximately 50,000 dollars. Past cases like the Johnson & Johnson case are leading scholars to question the motive behind lawyers to get involved in this case. Everyone involved in this case is working towards making it as fair as possible. Once everything is taken into account with input from scholars the final decisions of the location of the case and the lawyers representing the clients will be chosen, until then the debate and fight to be a part of this case will continue.
Mary is an accounting and information technology major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2018.