One of the major reasons for class action suits involves product defects. These lawsuits occur when a company has introduced a product into the marketplace that is defective in some way. Class action suits usually seek for customers to recoup costs spent on defective products as well as any damages class members (customers who purchased the product during a certain date) may be eligible for.
Three Main Causes of Action in Product Liability
There are three main causes of action – essentially legal reasons – that lead to product liability suits.
First, defective designs can land companies in hot water. For example, Apple recently agreed to a $50 million settlement regarding Macbook keyboards that failed to work properly.
Another common cause of action is manufacturing defects. In these cases, customers sue companies because, while the product at question was originally safe, something in the manufacturing process caused the product to become unsafe.
“Failure to warn” lawsuits are also a type of product liability suit. These cases involve products that fail to alert customers to risks of use. For example, if a medication doesn’t adequately explain its potential side effects or drug interactions, customers may have a viable cause of action to sue.
High Profile Product Defect Class Actions
You may have read about some of the more well-known product defect suits of the last few decades in the news. One of the biggest ones occurred in 2002 when tobacco manufacturer Philip Morris was sued for failing to properly warn customers of the risks of smoking their tobacco products. This case settled for $28 billion (later reduced to $28 million).
More recently, in 2018, Johnson & Johnson settled a class action to the tune of $4.6 billion. This suit claimed that the company’s use of faulty talcum powder in baby powder products led to ovarian cancer. Victims were awarded $25 million each.
More on Class Actions
Product liability suits are just one type of class action. To keep up-to-date on recent class actions and learn more about what you can do if you feel you may have a cause of action in a class action suit, continue reading the RapidFunds Insights page and checking out our updates on LinkedIn.