In its mid-year roundup of significant product liability cases, Law360 highlights cases of national interest with impact on potentially millions of Americans, including several cases in which Lieff Cabraser is playing a leading role. These include the Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler “dirty diesel” emissions cases, as well as injury lawsuits involving Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products that have been linked to ovarian cancer.
Volkswagen & Fiat Chrysler Emissions Litigation
Similar to the historic Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche diesel emissions auto lawsuit that resulted in consumer settlements valued between $11.2 and $14.2 billion, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was accused by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in May of 2017 of installing emissions-cheating software to bypass U.S. clean air laws. The Fiat Chrysler litigation alleges that 2014-2016 model year Dodge Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee light-duty diesel trucks were marketed and advertised as being environmentally friendly “eco-diesel” vehicles but hid their true emissions production levels in a fraudulent manner that was also a violation of environmental statutes.
“I think these are really interesting cases, both from the perspective of the nature of the fraud involved and the way in which cases like VW were settled with very substantial payouts to each class member,” stated Lieff Cabraser partner Jonathan D. Selbin.
In June of this year, Judge Edward M. Chen of the Northern District of California named Lieff Cabraser founding partner Elizabeth J. Cabraser as Lead Counsel for Plaintiffs and Chair of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in the fraud litigation against Fiat Chrysler brought by owners of affected Jeep and Dodge vehicles.
Johnson & Johnson Talc Cases
Talcum powder has been used by women and girls for decades in what was thought to be a harmless method of absorbing moisture. However, multiple U.S. jury verdicts have linked the regular usage of Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) talcum powder products to ovarian cancer. Thousands of women with ovarian cancer have filed lawsuits against the consumer product giant for cancer-related injuries and deaths from talc exposure. According to Lieff Cabraser attorney Tiseme Zegeye, J&J “knew for years about the risks of cancer posed by its iconic baby powder product, but chose instead to not warn women.”
As reported by Law360, “the next talc trial is slated to start on July 10 in California state court. It will be the first in a coordinated proceeding involving hundreds of plaintiffs.”
Other Cases: Abilify Gambling Addiction, PFC and PFA Water Contamination
Law360’s roundup skipped mention of several other current cases of great import that are still in progress or under investigation. These includes the Abilify gambling addiction lawsuits, in which plaintiffs allege a link between the use of the antipsychotic drug aripiprazole (Abilify, Abilify Maintena, Aristada and other generic versions of the drug) and compulsive urges that can lead to uncontrollable gambling, among other addictive behaviors.
There are also numerous complaints and investigations relating to PFC/PFA water contamination. PFCs are known to cause serious, even lethal injuries. Drinking water and fish assessments including tests by the Michigan Department of Health have revealed dangerous levels of PFCs in drinking water collected from private residential wells near the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Iosco County. Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) are chemicals that were used in fire-fighting foams on American military bases. Similar concerns surround drinking water supplies around other U.S. military bases and former base areas, including but not limited to Whidbey Island Naval Air Station in Washington, Glenview Naval Air Station in Glenview, Illinois, Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio, and Mitchell AFB in Wisconsin.
National Defective Products & Product Liability Lawyers at Lieff Cabraser
Each year, thousands of products are recalled due to inferior performance, poor quality, faulty designs, and other defects. When manufacturers fail to take responsibility for products that do not perform as promised or advertised, consumers must either repair the product at their own expense or buy a new one. Fortunately, there are multiple remedies under the law for consumers to hold manufacturers accountable.
Lieff Cabraser has successfully litigated and settled hundreds of class action lawsuits in federal and state courts, including dozens of cases requiring manufacturers to remedy a defect, extend warranties, and refund to consumers the cost of repairing the defective product. Working with co-counsel, we have achieved judgments and settlements that have recovered more than $4.7 billion in cash in these cases, as well as other valuable relief, such as product fixes and extended warranties.