A jury in Texas has ruled that Johnson and Johnson must pay $1.4 billion for issues relating to a dangerous product defect. According to the case, metal debris from the company’s hip implant can enter the blood stream and cause serious complications such as metal poisoning, neurological issues and even death.
As far back as 2013, the FDA warned patients about the dangers of these types of implants. Most companies, including Johnson and Johnson, have since recalled the products, but this does not mean that victims have stopped holding them accountable for the damages.
The biggest result of the recent lawsuit was not that Johnsons and Johnson merely lost the case; it was that the jury determined that leadership had known about the issue. The court awarded $30 million in damages to the plaintiffs. The rest of the $1.4 billion payment was in punitive damages for the company’s bad behavior.
This is the company’s second trail loss over this product. Another jury recently awarded patients more than $500 million for damages. In addition to these two major losses, Johnson and Johnson has already paid billions in settlement agreements.
What Does This Mean for Johnson and Johnson?
Some experts are saying that these trials are a sign that Johnson and Johnson needs to stop fighting cases and stick with settlements. After the most recent ruling, the company requested a stay on future lawsuits, but the judge denied it. There will be another lawsuit in September 2017.
The same U.S. District judge has roughly 8,600 cases pending that are related to this dangerous product. It’s easy to see how these lawsuits could become an even bigger issue for Johnson and Johnson if they don’t change their approach.