Articles Posted in Punitive Damages

Barbara Kaiser had surgery to implant the Prolift Anterior Pelvic Floor Repair System, a transvaginal mesh medical device that supports the pelvic muscles. Within a few years of her surgery, she began to experience severe pelvic pain, bladder spasms, and pain during intercourse. Her doctor attributed these conditions to contractions in the mesh of the Prolift.  Kaiser had revision surgery to remove the device, but her surgeon could not completely extract it. The physician informed Kaiser that the painful complications she was experiencing were likely permanent.

Kaiser sued Ethicon Inc., Prolift’s manufacturer, and Johnson & Johnson, its parent company, seeking damages under the Indiana Products Liability Act.

After a two-week trial, a jury found Ethicon liable for defectively designing the Prolift device and choosing not to adequately warn about its complications.

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Reginald Bush a/k/a Reggie Bush, a former Heisman Trophy winner, had a successful professional football career and was named as starting running back for the San Francisco 49ers. While he was playing against the then St. Louis Rams at Edward Jones Dome in 2005, whose turf playing field was surrounded by a slippery concrete surface, Bush ran out of bounds while returning a punt and slid on the slippery surface, falling awkwardly. As the play ended, and while trying to slow down, Bush slipped on the concrete and suffered a left lateral meniscus tear.

Reggie Bush required surgery and extensive rehabilitation and did not return to play that season. Although Bush subsequently obtained a one-year contract with a different team, he was unable to play. He has not signed another professional football contract. Now he is 33 years old and still has problems with his left knee.

Bush sued the Los Angeles Rams LLC , alleging it was responsible for the St. Louis Rams LLC’s failure to warn of and fix a dangerous condition at the Edward Jones Dome.

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A Jackson County, Ill., jury has signed a verdict for $2.3 million for Frank Adams who suffered a shoulder injury and abnormal scarring condition after he dodged a vehicles in a rear-end crash.

Adams was working as an Illinois Department Transportation (IDOT) flagger at the time of the crash. He sued pest-control company Terminix and its employee Brian Doll in 2015 claiming that Doll consciously ignored several school-zone signs and IDOT work warnings before causing the collision with an Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) van in March 2014.

The jury’s verdict, which included $2,500 in punitive damages, is the highest verdict ever reported from Jackson County, Ill., according to the Jury Verdict Reporter. Adams had stopped the Illinois Department of Corrections van driven by Charles Ray Borum, which contained eight inmates at the time, because IDOT workers were trimming trees along Illinois Route 146 near Pope County High School.

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On Oct. 17, 2011, Margaret Baumrucker was walking to work when she was hit by a taxicab in a crosswalk at the intersection of Oak Park Avenue and Windsor in Berwyn, Ill. Baumrucker, 60, was a psychiatric nurse and sustained a rotator cuff tendinopathy and glenoid labral tear/shredding in her left shoulder, which was unoperated. She will require periodic physical therapy treatment for the rest of her life. At trial, Baumrucker presented $25,641 in medical expenses and 13 weeks of lost time from work totaling $22,100. She is now retired.

Baumrucker asserted that the defendant cab company, Express Cab Dispatch, was willful and wanton in its failure to properly vet and clear the defendant taxi driver Luis Leal before hiring him as a one of its drivers, including its failure to check his prior driving record and investigate his employment background. The cab company also chose not to provide any training for him after he was hired.

Leal started working for Express Cab just a couple of weeks before this occurrence, and he reportedly had a bad driving record. The defendants admitted negligence, but denied willful and wanton misconduct and denied that the plaintiff was permanently injured.

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Cynthia DeCornmier suffered serious injuries when she fell from her motorcycle on a motorcycle training course. Before the beginning of the training course, DeCornmier signed a release of all claims that may have resulted from or arising out of her participation in the training course. The release document stated in bold letters that it covered all claims she may have, including without limitation, all claims resulting from the negligence of those involved in the course.

In spite of the release that was signed in advance of the motorcycle training course, she filed a lawsuit against Harley-Davidson and Gateway Harvey-Davidson alleging that they were negligent and reckless by directing her to perform motorcycle maneuvers on a range that was icy and slippery. In the lawsuit, DeCornmier maintained that the liability release document that she signed in advance was unenforceable against claims of gross negligence or recklessness.

The defendants Harley Davidson and Gateway Harley-Davidson, filed motions for summary judgment, which the trial judge granted dismissing DeCornmier’s case.

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A U.S. district court judge has rejected the attempts of Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. and Eli Lilly & Co. to overturn the combined $9 billion punitive-damage award that a jury recently returned. The verdict came down in a case that involved claims that the drug makers chose to hide the cancer risks of their Actos diabetes drug. The presiding judge held that the jury properly considered evidence that showed officials of the Osaka, Japan-based Takeda, and Indianapolis-based Lily had advance knowledge that Actos was associated with bladder cancer and chose not to properly and efficiently warn doctors and patients about those risks.

However, although the judge upheld the jury’s verdict, the judge is still considering another motion that was brought post-trial by the defendants for a new trial. That motion is pending for a case of Terrence Allen v. Takeda, et al., which was the first federal trial over claims that Actos causes bladder cancer.

The widespread sales of the Actos pharmaceutical product reached its highest level on March 2011 when the product had sales of $4.5 billion and accounted for 27% of Takeda’s revenue in total. Since the time Actos was released by Takeda in 1999, it had made sales in excess of $16 billion. Today Takeda must contend with generic competition from other drug makers.

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Brooke Melton, 29, died allegedly because of the General Motors’ ignition switch flaw. Her case had been pending for a period of time when it was settled by General Motors in October 2013. The settlement was reached before General Motors was found to have been downplaying and otherwise concealing the ignition switch problems from consumers and lawyers involved in these tragic cases.

Although the Melton case was settled, the Melton family lawyers want to reopen the case and show that General Motors was guilty of fraudulent concealment regarding the switch problem. If the Meltons are successful in reopening this case, other settled injury or death cases arising from the ignition switch defect may be reopened for further consideration.

Today the lawsuits or claims management of the many ignition switch injury cases are being handled by attorney Kenneth Feinberg, whose group has settled hundreds of the GM death and injury claims from crashes that were caused by the ignition switch defect.

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A Philadelphia jury entered a verdict of $55 million in damages after nine days of trial testimony in favor of Carlos Martinez who suffered paralysis in a car crash when his Honda SUV rolled over. Martinez’s head hit the roof of the vehicle in the rollover. There was evidence revealed during the discovery process that showed that Honda had determined that a seat-belted driver would strike his or her head on the roof in a rollover crash. The Honda vehicle, an Integra SUV, was not further tested by Honda to resolve that defect to protect drivers and passengers in rollover incidences.

The lawyer representing Martinez maintained that the injuries suffered could have been avoided by a safer design of the seat belt that was already in existence. It is hopeful that this verdict would send a message to Honda that it must correct the defect to the seat belt in this Honda vehicle.

The jury’s verdict of $55 million included $25 million for past and future damages, $14.6 million for medical expenses and $15 million that was assigned for the benefit of Martinez’s wife for loss of consortium.

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