Defective Product Injuries - 5 Cases and Legal Theories

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Defective Product Injuries – 5 Cases

Written by Cooper and Friedman on April 26, 2018

Defective Product Injuries and Legal Theories

When a company sells a defective product that is the cause of a serious injury, that company deserves to be held responsible for damage caused.  Whether you were injured by an item you bought yourself or it was something you were required to use on the job, you may be entitled to financial compensation from the manufacturer. When it comes to product liability there are four different legal theories used to base a claim:

  • Negligence
  • Fraud
  • Strict Product Liability
  • Breach of Warranty


In a negligence case, the defendant’s actions breach a reasonable duty of care owed to the plaintiff and that breach contributed or was the main cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.


In a fraud case, the defendant knowingly makes certain representations about the product that aren’t true in order to coerce the plaintiff to buy the product. These false representations made by the defendant, then cause the plaintiff to be injured in some way.

Strict Product Liability

In a case of strict product liability, a product is sold without adequate warning and in an unreasonably dangerous condition. The plaintiff or their property is injured as a result.

Breach of Warranty

In a case of breach of warranty, the product did not meet the terms of a warranty applied to it.

5 Defective Product Injuries Cases

The Hot Coffee Case

Often used as an example of how recklessly litigious Americans can be, the McDonald’s “hot coffee case” gets a bad wrap. In the 1994’s Liebeck v McDonald’s, 79-year-old Stella Liebeck won the case against the fast food giant because her legal team proved McDonald’s was willful, wanton, and reckless with their heating standards for coffee. As a result of their negligence, Liebeck sustained serious burns and injuries that required expensive medical care.

The Lung Cancer Case

It wasn’t until the mid-twentieth century that we began to learn of the dangers of cigarettes. In order to keep consumers, manufacturer Philip Morris concealed such hazards with a widespread misinformation campaign in the 1950s– or at least that’s what the plaintiff’s lawyers claimed in the 2002 case Jodie Bullock v Philip Morris USA INC. The jury famously ended up ordering the cigarette manufacturer to pay the plaintiff $28 billion. However, the amount has been reduced considerably in appeals.

The Breast Implants Case

Throughout the 1990s, thousands of women sued Dow Corning as the breast implants they made repeatedly ruptured, leading to infections, disfigurement and even death. In 1997, a state jury in Louisiana found the chemical company knowingly deceived women by hiding information about the health risks of silicone. The $2 billion settlement Dow Corning paid eventually lead to them filing for bankruptcy.

The Asbestos Case

Asbestos is a mineral used building materials that contain tiny fibers that cause inflammation if inhaled and can eventually lead to serious medical conditions including mesothelioma and lung cancer. Over the last few decades of the 20th century, hundreds of thousands of people sued manufacturer Owens Corning for selling the deadly material. In 1998, Owens Corning settled 176,000 cases with a $1.2 billion payout, granting each plaintiff with an average of $4,600.

The Painkiller Case

In 2006, a jury found that Merck Pharmaceuticals knowingly mislead the FDA regarding the safety of their painkiller Vioxx. The result? About 27,000 lawsuits from families and victims who suffered from severe side effects including heart attack and death. Merck ended up settling for $4.85 billion.

If you or someone you love is injured by a defective product in Kentucky or Southern Indiana, contact us today. Our experienced defective product injuries attorneys can help hold manufacturers accountable for their negligence, fraud, liability, or breach of warranty. For additional info, or to schedule your free consultation with an experienced Cooper and Friedman attorney, call 502-459-7555 now.

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