Huge jury verdicts against companies over fatal flaws in their products made a comeback last year, which may foretell more bad news for carmakers with defective parts.
Absent for a decade, billion-dollar verdicts returned in product defect suits in 2014. The largest was for $23.6 billion in favor of the family of a smoker who died at 36. Coming in second was one for $9 billion to a New Yorker who linked his bladder cancer to a diabetes medication.Probably one indicator of the success of Obamanomics. Class envy among jurors, stoked by venal litigators;
“People now come into the jury room really suspicious, instead of wondering is this ambulance-chasing lawyer trying to squeeze money out of a company,” said Erik Gordon, a law and business professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “Jurors now come in expecting to hear a story of corporate wrong-doing and are being very receptive to these stories.”And then return exorbitant amounts in punitive damages. Which are inevitably thrown out on appeal, as having no basis in reality. By which time the warm fuzzy glow of sticking it to the man has probably worn off too. Though the lingering effects on the economy--which we all pay for in higher prices--remain.