Earlier last month, a jury awarded the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer roughly $72 million against the defendant, health-care manufacturing giant, Johnson & Johnson. According to one article following the case, $10 million of the verdict was for compensatory damages and $62 million were for punitive damages.
The plaintiffs in the case alleged that Johnson & Johnson not only sold a dangerous product, but also that the company continued to do so even after it learned the of dangers associated with the product. The lawsuit focused on the deceased’s use of Johnson & Johnson’s “Shower to Shower” powder, which contained talcum powder. The product was marketed for decades as a feminine hygiene product, until the Food and Drug Administration advised against the use of talc-based products around the genitals.
Evidence at trial suggested that the woman had used the product for decades, and was never warned of the possibility that continued use of the product increased the likelihood she would develop cancer. There was also evidence presented suggesting that Johnson & Johnson officials knew that there were dangers associated with the use of their product, but ignored them and continued to market the product as a safe feminine-hygiene product.
After hearing all the evidence, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs for $72 million. The jury decided that $10 million would be awarded for compensatory damages and $62 million for punitive damages.
Compensatory Versus Punitive Damages
There are two main categories of damages in most personal injury cases, including product liability cases like the one discussed above. Compensatory damages are designed to put the plaintiff back in the position they were in prior to the defendant’s negligent conduct. Of course, no one can go back in time and prevent the injuries the defendant’s negligence caused, so monetary compensation is used instead.
Punitive damages, on the other hand, are used to “punish” a defendant for especially upsetting conduct. For example, lying, committing fraud, or some other egregious conduct may give rise to a punitive damages award. Punitive damages are not always appropriate in personal injury cases, but they can be in certain circumstances. A dedicated personal injury attorney can help you assess the strength of your case, and determine whether punitive damages may be appropriate.
Have You Been Injured in a Florida Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been the victim of a Florida accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation based on the other party’s negligence. Personal injury cases, however, can be complex, and are often very contentious. Many times, plaintiffs will have to deal with insurance companies and other parties experienced in litigating these claims. Therefore, it is very important that you too have an experienced advocate on your side. Call Friedman Rodman & Frank, PA at 877-488-8585 to set up a free consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
Florida Appeals Court Holds Section 57.105 Does Not Entitle Defendant to Privileged Information, February 25, 2016, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog
Florida Hearing Indicates Takata Concealed Evidence of Airbag Defect, February 22, 2016, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog