Every so often, a company makes headlines—however, not all press is good press. Product liability is one negative reason companies make the evening news and those suits—unfounded or not—can really damage a business or corporation’s image and reputation. Here are five of the largest product liability lawsuits that have happened in the United States.
- Dow Corning Implants
In 1998, Dow Corning (a joint venture of The Dow Chemical Co. and Corning Inc.) reached a settlement in which it agreed to pay $2 billion as part of a larger $4.25 billion class action lawsuit filed by customers who claimed their silicone breast implants had ruptured, causing injury, scleroderma, and death.
- Owens Corning Building Materials
In December 1998, Owens Corning Corp. agreed to a $1.2 billion settlement for a asbestos-related product liability suit claiming that its asbestos building materials caused mesothelioma cancer and death. 176,000 individuals were involved in this product liability case.
- General Motors
In August 1999, General Motors also faced a combination personal injury and product liability lawsuit claiming a faulty gas tank on its 1979 Chevy Malibu caused explosions that killed six people. The plaintiffs sued for $4.9 billion in punitive damages.
- Philip Morris Tobacco
In 2002, Philip Morris (renamed Altria Group, Inc.) faced charges filed by a lung cancer patient who claimed that smoking their cigarettes had caused her cancer and that her tobacco addiction was caused by the company’s failure to warn her of the risks that come with smoking. The company was ordered to pay punitive damages of $28 billion and $850,000 in compensatory damages. Philip Morris appealed the case and nine years later, the amount was reduced to $28 million. Read more on Biggest Tobacco Lawsuits.
- General Motors (Again)
In March 2008, General Motors faced a product liability suit claiming a damaging chemical was used in its Dex-Cool coolant, which caused leaks and engine damage. A class action lawsuit was filed that represented approximately 35 million GM customers and totaled about $20 billion. The customers received individual payments between $400-800 when all was said and done.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a faulty product, contact Boughter Sinak today for a free evaluation.