Jury Instructions in South Florida Product Liability Cases

In any South Florida personal injury case, one of the judge’s primary roles is to instruct the jury on the applicable law of the case. To help make sure that all Florida judges are providing similar instructions to juries across the state, a set of standard jury instructions has been created. The standard jury instructions provide the jurors with guidance, asking the jurors to answer individual questions that eventually lead to the ultimate conclusion. Once the jurors answer the questions, the judge will announce the decision and render a verdict. In Florida, there are several types of product liability claims, including manufacturing defect and design defect claims. When a Florida product liability case is brought under a theory of strict liability, Standard Jury Continue reading →

The Two Tests Florida Courts Apply When Hearing Product Liability Cases

When someone is injured while using a product, that person is entitled to file a product liability case against the manufacturer of the allegedly dangerous product to seek compensation for their injuries. In most cases, the injured party will not need to prove that the manufacturer was negligent; however, an injured party will need to prove that the product was unreasonably dangerous. Florida courts allow product liability plaintiffs to prove dangerousness in one of two ways:  the risk-utility test or the consumer-expectations test. A recent Florida appellate court opinion briefly mentions each test and notes how under the current state of the law, a jury may be instructed on the elements of both tests. Florida’s Risk-Utility Test One way in which a Flo...

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Johnson & Johnson Hit with Several Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuits

Over the past few months, Johnson & Johnson has been found liable in several product liability lawsuits, based on the continued use of its talc-based baby powder. According to one recent financial news source, the company was most recently found liable for over $67 million, which puts the total amount for all of the baby powder lawsuits brought against the company at about $195 million. The cases proceed under a product liability theory and rely on recently discovered evidence that the continued use of talc-based products can result in certain kinds of cancer. Specifically, the research indicates that the use of baby powder in women's genital areas can lead to ovarian cancer. There are currently about 2,500 lawsuits pending filed by women who have suffered from vario...

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Topamax Birth Injury Case Results in $3 Million Verdict

The Federal Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit just handed down a decision affirming a verdict in favor of the plaintiff in a birth injury lawsuit stemming from the use of Topamax by pregnant women. According to one news source covering the case, the young plaintiff in the case was born with a cleft palate as well as a cleft lip after her mother took Topamax during the first trimester of pregnancy. The jury’s verdict was split; $1.5 million was designated to go to the parents to help pay for the future care of their child, and $1.5 million was designated to go to the young girl herself to help compensate her for her non-economic damages. The Facts of the Case Back in 2007, the plaintif...

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FDA Declines Total Recall of Essure Birth Control and Implements Strict Warning Instead

Over the past few years, it has come out that the birth control medication, Essure, can cause a host of very serious negative side effects, including severe pain and bleeding, unplanned pregnancies, miscarriages, and still births. In response to the increasing number of women who say they have been negatively affected by Essure, as well as the research indicating the same, the Food and Drug Administration recently announced that it will not be issuing a recall. Instead, it plans to implement a “black box” warning. The Black Box warning, according to the FDA, is the most serious warning that they can issue for a prescription medication. In fact, the warning requires that doctors get a patient’s written consent to take the drug after they have been made awar...

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Health Care Products Manufacturer Found Liable in Product Liability Lawsuit, Forced to Pay Out $72 Million Award

Health care products giant Johnson & Johnson was recently found liable in a product liability lawsuit based on the continued use of its “Shower to Shower” talcum powder. As a result of the lawsuit, the company will be forced to pay out nearly $72 million in damages to the family of a woman who just last year died of ovarian cancer stemming from her use of the company’s product. The woman’s family alleged that Johnson & Johnson knew about the dangers of their talc-based product but continued to sell it to customers without any warning. To help prove their case, the plaintiffs discovered internal Johnson & Johnson documents indicating that the company was aware of the adverse health consequences from using its product. In response to the case again...

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Florida Supreme Court Upholds Strict Liability Verdict Based on Defendants’ Failure to Immediately Object to Inconsistent Verdict

Earlier this month, the Florida Supreme Court heard a case about a man who fell to his death off of a 13-foot ladder made and sold by the defendants. In the case, Coba v. Tricam Industries, the Florida Supreme Court denied the defendants’ request to set aside the jury verdict in the amount of roughly $1.5 million. The Case at Trial The evidence showed that Coba fell off a ladder that was manufactured by one of the defendants and sold in the retail store of another defendant. Coba’s estate sued both the manufacturer and the retailer under the theories of strict liability and traditional negligence. The strict liability claim alleged that there was some kind of design defect in the ladder and that those who “designed, manu...

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Major Ice Cream Manufacturer Recalls All of Its Products Amidst Listeria Fears

Earlier this month, a nationally known ice cream manufacturer, Blue Bell, based out of Brenham, Texas, recalled all of its products after fears arose that some products had been contaminated with the deadly bacteria listeria. According to a report by USA Today, the “little creamery in Brenham” instituted a voluntary recall after listeria was found in some half-gallon containers of cookie dough ice cream. While the initial discovery of contaminated products was limited to the half-gallon containers of cookie dough ice cream, the company decided to recall all of its products, including its entire line of ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet, and frozen snacks. A Blue Bell representative released the following official statemen...

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