P.I. Pulse: Two Awards and a Settlement

Mar. 18th, 2013   /   , ,

In this blog, we’re going to outline for you two awards and a settlement. The first award stems from a case against a manufacturer of a medical product, and the second deals with an on-the-job injury. The settlement has to do with a former prisoner suing the county over the conditions in which he was kept.

We’re going to start with a case against a subsidiary of the corporation Johnson and Johnson called Ethicon, a company who deals, in part, in transvaginal mesh products. The verdict against the company meant $11.46 million being awarded to a nurse from South Dakota. The total included of $3.35 million in what are known as “compensatory” damages (medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of income, etc) as well as $7.76 in punitive damages. Punitive damages—often very large sums—are issued in a “punitive” way, to deter the defendant from engaging in similar risky business and to make them aware of the seriousness of the involved negligence.

The plaintiff in the case, the woman from South Dakota who was awarded more than $11 million, suffered serious medical problems after receiving a Prolift Transvaginal Mesh implant. The implant forced her to undergo a traumatizing eighteen corrective surgeries. The large award sets a precedent, not only for those who might have experienced an injury due to a transvaginal mesh product. It also is an example of people seeking—and obtaining—justice, even when the opposing party is one of the largest corporations in the world.

For our next case, we turn to a factory in New Jersey. Five employees of the company Tec-Cast sued their employer after sustaining injuries while on the job. According to the lawsuit, workers were working near a pressurized boiler-tank when it exploded. One of the nearby workers, who was planning to retire the following year, was killed instantly by the blast. Among the injuries the other workers sustained were a broken leg, a broken ankle, a fractured skull and a significant psychological injury. The workers, in order to sue the company, had to show that the company was negligent. They were able to prove that the company failed to implement proper safety regulations; furthermore, they proved that the company had hired unlicensed techs to do repairs on the boiler-tank. Furthermore, they didn’t conduct proper safety inspections with regard to the tank. In the end, the jury awarded the injured workers $3 million by issuing a verdict worth that amount against the company.

Finally, we end with a former prisoner getting justice of his own. A man by the name of Stephen Slevin was in a New Mexico jail in which he was in solitary confinement for 22 months. During this nearly two-year period, his mental health degenerated, and he also faced serious physical health issues: fungi began to grow on his skin and, because he was not allowed access to a dentist, he was forced to pull out one of his own teeth. Slevin has said that the prison employees walked past him and acknowledged his mental and physical deterioration, yet did nothing about it. Because of these mistreatments, he has sued the county. A jury, compelled by the case, originally awarded Slevin $22 million. However, the county appealed the award and settled with Slevin for $15.5 million.

For more information on any of the information on this blog, or for a free consultation, please contact us at the Law Offices of Aronberg and Aronberg by calling 561-266-9191 or emailing daronberg@aronberglaw.com.

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