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b2ap3_thumbnail_johnson.jpgA bedroom mirror reflects a young woman, hand on her arm, facing a worn teddy bear and plastic bottle of Johnson’s baby powder. The 1980s advertisement claims “It’s a feeling you never outgrow. The powder that kept you feeling soft as a baby keeps you feeling soft today. Johnson’s baby powder. It’s the softest powder there is.” Alleged “softness” aside, recent studies have shown genital use of powder is linked with 44 percent higher risk for ovarian cancer.

 

A number of lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson have brought the cancerous risks of talc (the main ingredient in Johnson’s Baby Powder) to the public’s attention. 49 year-old Deane Berg of Sioux Falls, S.D., an everyday user of the product for over 30 years, understood the talcum powder as the probable cause of her advanced ovarian cancer almost immediately.

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tort reforms, Chicago product recall attorneysThere was a time when corporations cared about their products and the effect they had on the general population. It was a time when companies worked hard to prevent the distribution of defective products; when the system failed and a defect did make its way to the public, the issue was quickly rectified. In some ways, it is an indication of just how much values have changed over the years, but it is an even stronger indication of how the decisions made by lawmakers, legislators, and courts have diminished the sense of accountability for large corporations.

Punitive Damages and Corporate Accountability

Punitive damages and corporate accountability go hand-in-hand because, when a corporation has the fear of being hit with damages above and beyond just the typical damages, they are less likely to gamble with the lives of their consumers. But punitive damages have become nearly non-existent, with some states placing caps on the amounts and others doing away with them altogether. As a result, corporations have begun to weigh the cost of continuing to produce defective products against the cost of correcting the problem or pulling the product altogether.

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