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Defective Product Payback Seen In The Courtroom

Posted by Jane Akre
Thursday, January 07, 2010 11:44 PM EST
Category: Protecting Your Family
Tags: Product Liability, Defective Products, Philip Morris, Wyeth, Levine, Federal Pre-emption

Jurors are delivering record verdicts ini product liability cases.

Big Losses in Product Liability Cases



IMAGE SOURCE: WikiMedia Commons, Marlboro/ bachmont

Altria Group Inc. and Pfizer were the biggest losers in product liability cases last year and the business community is bracing itself for juries who have soured on big business.

Bloomberg reports that the top five product-defect verdicts rose to $620 million in 2009 - an increase of 52 percent in total value. The recession, rising unemployment, the eroding trust in corporate America, and maybe a little payback, are all hurting manufacturers of defective products in the courtroom.

Among the biggest business losers in 2009:

* Pfizer - $34 million verdict against Pfizer, $78 million verdict in claims against subsidiary, Wyeth over hormone replacement drugs over breast cancer.

* Altria’s Philip Morris – A $300 million verdict in Florida state court ($224 million in punitive) in a case filed by a former smoker who developed cancer. 40 more tobacco related cases are set for trial this year.

* Abbott Laboratories - Johnson & Johnson’s Centocor unit awarded $1.67 billion in patent-infringement case

* Ford Motor Company - $4.5 million award against Ford in defective seat-belts. Ford lost at least four defective product cases of $10 million or more.

“Because of the mess with the banks, Bernie Madoff, people have less respect for companies,” said Randy Barnhart, an Englewood, Colorado, lawyer who won a $4.5 million verdict against Ford Motor Co. for a seat-belt defect tells Bloomberg. “The jurors were more willing to listen to our side.”

Levine Fallout

The eventual victory of Diana Levine in her case against drug maker Wyeth sparked about 250 lawsuits. Wyeth had claimed federal pre-emption should trump Levine’s failure-to-warn lawsuit she won in lower court.

In March 2009, in one of the most significant decisions this term, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with musician, Levine, and rejected the concept that federal approval from the Food and Drug Administration provides drug makers with a defense from state law product liability lawsuits. #


Posted by Tom Taormina
Friday, January 08, 2010 11:34 AM EST

Products Liability Lawsuits are a Symptom, not a Disease

In the vast majority of products liability and organizational negligence cases that are found for the plaintiff, the root cause is broken processes and people not held accountable within the manufacturing company, distribution system or the service providers’ delivery. We have amassed a unique data base that we believe will eventually become the foundation of tort reform by encouraging companies to be strictly liable for their actions before they do harm. The incentives are higher profits, less warranty and rework and very happy customers.

In our work as expert witnesses in product liability and organizational negligence, we are repeatedly examining and testifying about once-robust and reputable companies that have allowed entropy to destroy their quality and value systems. (En•tro•py - noun: The inevitable and steady deterioration of a system).
Far too many companies that rose to stardom during the second half of the twentieth century have become mostly entropic skeletons of their former majesty.
Production of their products and services are now outsourced, off-shored, throw-away hermaphrodites of what was designed and produced by the founders. The vision and values of the founders have been methodically diluted as time and business pressures and loss of focus caused systematic decay. Oftentimes, customer service issues begin to surface signaling an increase in the probability of impending product failures.

Tom Taormina, CMC, CMQ/OE
Forensic Business Pathologist®


Anonymous User
Posted by jl smith
Saturday, January 09, 2010 10:20 AM EST

every time you win a case and line your pockets with the spoils, you are costing the consumer more money for the things he buys keep it up jurors ,the lawyers are are laughing all the way to the bank at your stupidity .

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