4 Largest Class-Action Lawsuits in Florida History

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When numerous people find themselves damaged from defective products or other situations where a company or manufacturer may have hid knowledge of potential dangers, they feel as if they have few legal options to recover compensation. While each person can sometimes try to file a personal injury lawsuit, there are many situations where this is not a practical legal solution. Instead, it is best if all persons damaged by a company or manufacturer’s negligence or carelessness band together and pursue a class-action lawsuit. By doing so, they have much greater leverage against a defendant, and can often force a settlement that will provide each plaintiff with adequate compensation for their damages. In Florida, there have been various class-action lawsuits through the years. If you are curious as to which class-action lawsuits have been the largest in Florida history, here are some examples.

Merck and Company

In this class-action lawsuit, Florida residents who had used the drug Vioxx joined together to sue the drug’s manufacturer, Merck and Company. In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs alleged that Vioxx was causing its users to experience various types of cardiovascular issues, including heart attacks and heart failure. With thousands of plaintiffs involved in the lawsuit, Merck and Company denied any wrongdoing. However, in the end a settlement was reached between Merck and the plaintiffs, with the final amount being $4.85 billion.

Tobacco Companies

Stemming from a 2006 class-action lawsuit that finally reached a settlement in 2015, this case involved more than 400 plaintiffs and was filed against three major tobacco companies in the United States, those being R.J. Reynolds, Philip Morris, and Lorillard. This case, which centered on the argument that the three tobacco companies knew of the dangers associated with smoking yet chose to withhold this information from consumers, was drawn out for several years due to various appeals from the tobacco companies. Ultimately, the case was settled for $100 million, far less than the original $145 billion a jury in Miami felt was appropriate years earlier.

Michelin and Takata

When it comes to serious injuries, few accidents can be more devastating to individuals and their families than car accidents. Thus, in 2016, a class-action lawsuit was filed in Florida against tire manufacturer Michelin and airbag manufacturer Takata. In the lawsuit, plaintiffs alleged there were defects in automobile tires and airbags that made vehicles unnecessarily dangerous and led to numerous severe accidents. In addition, plaintiffs in this case alleged Michelin and Takata both knew of the potential hazards associated with their products, but chose to remain silent or issue recalls that may have prevented many deaths from taking place. Eventually, the case was settled for $80 million.

Owens Corning

In 1997, a class-action lawsuit was filed in Florida against manufacturing corporation Owens Corning. In the lawsuit, plaintiffs alleged the company knew of various asbestos hazards associated with many of its products, yet allowed its workers to work on these products knowing there could be potential health hazards associated with them. During the lawsuit, it was revealed Owens Corning did in fact conceal information about the asbestos hazard for more than 30 years. As a result, many of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit developed mesothelioma cancer from working on various products. At the conclusion of the case, a settlement was reached for $31 million in punitive damages and another $1.8 million in compensatory damages.

As each of these class-action lawsuits demonstrate, it is quite possible for those who have been damaged in one way or another from defective products, failure of a company to disclose information about dangerous products or situations, or other events to gain the compensation needed for such damages as medical treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other events that have forever changed their lives. However, due to the complexities associated with class-action lawsuits, they often take years to litigate before a possible settlement can be agreed upon by all parties.

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Kevin Schultz is a professional journalist with over 15 years of writing and media experience. He is a full-time contributor to the Themocracy Online News Blog and his insightful writing has been enjoyed by thousands.