The 10 Biggest Johnson and Johnson Lawsuits in Company History

Johnson and Johnson

Johnson and Johnson is one of the large pharmaceutical companies in the United States that has been responsible for providing medical supplies, cleaning, health, and beauty products, and pharmaceuticals with a trusted brand name in the marketplace for decades. The company was first launched in the 1800s and it has become a household word. Like most companies of its kind, things occasionally go wrong with either lack of testing or mistakes that result in products that cause harm to users. Johnson and Johnson have had their share of legal problems because of lawsuits filed for wrongful damages and injury from defective or dangerous products. Here are the ten biggest Johnson and Johnson lawsuits in the history of the company.

10. Indiana Prolift Pelvic Mesh case: $35 million award

In March of 2018, an Indiana jury chose to award damages for $35 million for a single woman claiming injury. She asserted that she sustained physical damage and injury from the use of a Prolift pelvic mesh system. Although the jury and huge made their final ruling on the case, Johnson and Johnson shared that this is one of the cases that they’re still working on. They plan to appeal the verdict. This was the larger award that followed the case settled in 2017. A Philadelphia jury heard the details of a lawsuit filed in a similar case, involving a transvaginal mesh device made by J&J. They ordered the company to pay damages for $20 million, which didn’t quite make out the 10 biggest lawsuits but it was worth an honorable mention. These are two of the smaller big lawsuits that Johnson & Johnson battled. There have been thousands of lawsuits filed for various pelvic mesh systems produced by the company. This is one of the most significant that received a lot of media attention.

9. Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and Shower to Shower Talcum Powder: $110 million

In May of 2017, a jury deliberated on the J&J Baby Powder and Shower to Shower talcum powder case. The pharmaceutical company was accused of producing products that were known to contain carcinogenic ingredients. A single woman filing a lawsuit in Missouri was awarded damages for $110.5 million because she developed ovarian cancer after using both of these talc-based products. J&J announced plans to appeal the decision of the courts, but so far, no other information has been shared about the case. Similarly, a woman in California filed a lawsuit claiming that J&J’s talcum powder products caused her to develop mesothelioma in 2010. A jury awarded her a sum of $29.4 million for the pain and suffering she endured. There are thousands of such cases with many of them not making the news because the plaintiffs either had the cases thrown out of court, or they settled for smaller amounts. The cancer-causing agents are found in trace amounts in the talcum powder products produced by Johnson & Johnson and/or its subsidiaries. In some cases, the juries awarded damages to plaintiffs while in others, they could not support the claims with clear evidence. It’s been a mixed bag for Johnson & Johnson.

8. Pinnacle Hip Implants lawsuit: $150 million 2016

Five patients in the state of Texas filed a lawsuit for injuries sustained from the use of Pinnacle hip implants. A jury that convened in the state found J&J and its subsidiaries liable for the damages and awarded the plaintiffs a large settlement. The total amount awarded was initially $500 million in March of 2016. That amount was later reduced to s law particular to the state of Texas. The settlement was reduced to $150 million. Johnson & Johnson’s attorneys continued to file appeals in response to the initial award until they won at least some small victory through the reduction in their liability for the lawsuit. Not all lawsuits involving the hip implant systems were found to be valid through the court system. Not all patients receiving the Pinnacle Hip implants experienced damage, but for those who did, there was compelling evidence that the devices failed in one way or another which made the company liable for the injuries that they caused.

7. Xarelto Lawsuit: $775 million

Johnson & Johnson is the manufacturers of a blood-thinner called Xarelto. There was a serious side effect associated with the medication that Johnson & Johnson neglected to warn people about. It posed the risk of patients developing internal bleeding. The product was the collaborative effort of Bayer and Johnson & Johnson who went in on the development and production of the drug. Consumers filed claims that they were subjected to dangerous side effects without being warned about the potential risks. There was a total of 25,000 lawsuits filed. The legal proceedings carried on for a full five years with more claims being filed almost daily. Neither Bayer nor Johnson & Johnson admitted any fault or liability in the matter, but they did settle and agreed to a payment of $775 million to put an end to the lengthy litigation process. Sometimes it is in the best interest of a major pharmaceutical company to settle in a lawsuit because of the high cost of legal fees, and the additional damage done to the reputation of the company when these lawsuits drag on for years and receive media attention.

6. Risperdal Lawsuit: $800 million 2019

Johnson & Johnson was the defendant in a lawsuit over damages caused by the use of a drug called Risperdal. The lawsuit was filed by thousands of men who took the anti-psychotic drug to treat their medical conditions, to discover that years later, the medication caused the development of excessive breast tissue. In short, many boys and men had taken the drug that grew breasts. The punitive damages were initially warded at $8 billion, but a judge in Philadelphia lowered the amount to $6.8 million. The agreement ended up costing Johnson & Johnson $800 million. This was just for one deal. There are currently over 9,000 pending lawsuits as of the end of 2021. The single largest lawsuit was the Risperdal claim and its award of $8 billion, but since the decision was later rescinded we put it back on the list as J&J didn’t end up paying the ungodly amount. There was little doubt that the claims were valid as the incidences of excessive breast tissue growth were seen in a percentage of users that suggests it was far more than a coincidence.

5. Johnson’s Baby Powder Lawsuit Remaining litigation funds: $2 billion

Ongoing lawsuits over allegations that J&J’s talcum product caused ovarian cancer and other health problems continue. Currently, more than 40,000 lawsuits over talc products containing asbestos and causing cancer have been filed. Tens of thousands of plaintiffs join together in various class action lawsuits. The company has finally set aside a contingency fund to handle the slew of lawsuits that continue to pour in. Johnson& Johnson has set aside a contribution of $2 billion to help remain any of the new talc litigations that arise. This was a part of their recent subsidiary’s bankruptcy reorganization. The company recalled 33,000 bottles of its baby powder after the FDA identified traces of the carcinogen asbestos in a sample. This casts further doubt on the safety of these products that have been used for decades for everyone from babies to the elderly and everyone in between.

4. $2.5 billion: Pinnacle Hip Implant Settlement 2010

The Drug Watch confirmed that Johnson and Johnson were liable for the damages sustained to patients receiving the Pinnacle Systems Hip Implants. The devices were developed and manufactured by DePuy, a subsidiary company that operates under the umbrella of Johnson & Johnson. The ASR Hip Resurfacing System along with the ASR XL Acetabular Systems were metal on metal hip implants that caused metal poisoning in patients. They also loosened in the body after placement resulting in dislocation of the joints requiring additional surgeries. Both systems were recalled. Plaintiffs continued to file lawsuits in the years that followed with over 10,000 cases filed and settlements made totaling $2.5 billion in an agreement for claims filed through the United States, Australia, and Canada. As of 2021, there are still 5,400 pending cases against J&J for these products.

3. $4.69 billion July 2018 J&J Talcum powder lawsuit

In July of 2018, a lawsuit filed against Johnson & Johnson for damages caused by its talcum powder-based products was settled. This case involved 22 plaintiffs who claimed that the popular baby powders resulted in the development of ovarian cancer. A jury convened in St. Louis, Missouri. They rendered a guilty verdict that held the pharmaceutical giant responsible for releasing products that contained some levels of carcinogens, confirmed through testing of the products at independent laboratories. J&J maintains that their baby powder is safe, but recall several containers in 2019 because there were trace amounts of asbestos discovered. J&J maintains denial of this and continues to deal with new lawsuits filed against the company for new cases of ovarian cancer.

2. 2021 Opioid Lawsuit: $5 billion

Most of us are aware of the current health crisis with the epidemic of opioid misuse, additions, and deaths caused by the overprescription of these medications. Janssen Pharmaceuticals is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. It was accused of making improper sales of pain medications on an opioid platform. They were further accused of contributing to the national opioid crisis which is currently ruled as an epidemic. Johnson & Johnson assumed the responsibility in the litigation that involved a group of states and agreed to resolve the litigation that was active against Janssen with a $5 billion payment.

1. 2019 Pelvic Mesh lawsuits: Over $7.25 billion

A consolidation of lawsuit cases filed by women who received pelvic mesh products was considered by a federal judge in the state of West Virginia. This unique lawsuit combined thousands of lawsuits filed by women who suffered painful physical injuries from the pelvic mesh products and devices that were made by Johnson & Johnson and six other manufacturers of these products. In many cases, the devices causing the problems were difficult to remove which led to more extreme pain and suffering. The case was heard by the federal judge in 2019. It combined 104,000 cases. The total amount of settlements equaled $7.25 billion. Although Johnson & Johnson reported that most of the lawsuits have been successfully settled, there are still an additional 10,700 pending claims that have not yet been resolved. This is one of the largest lawsuits ever faced by the company. Shockingly, there were so many lawsuits clogging up the courts’ systems, they found it necessary to resort to consolidation because the cases were so similar.

Final thoughts

Johnson & Johnson is an old pharmaceutical company that has been in business for more than a century. It is an established company that has provided health, wellness, beauty, medications, medical equipment, and supplies. They’ve provided these products for the American public and people in other countries throughout the world. J&J is one of the largest of its kind. They are also among the most trusted through the years. Several of its products have become the subject of legal actions because people who used them experienced side effects or other detrimental effects for which they did not believe someone properly warned them about. Issues include everything from cancer-causing agents in talcum powder to malfunctions in hip replacement systems, dangerous pharmaceuticals, and other drugs that cause detrimental side effects. Johnson & Johnson has paid out several billion in settlements of the hundreds of thousands of lawsuits filed against them throughout the years. J&J, along with other pharmaceutical companies, appear frequently in court. They settle by paying. In most circumstances, they admit no wrongdoing. Of the thousands of products this company has manufactured and distributed, they have found only a small percentage to cause harm. J&J is still, for many, a trusted brand.

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