Mass Tort Defendants Face More than Just Civil Damages

Often times, it’s not just plaintiffs who recover against the manufacturers of dangerous drugs and other products. Sure, the goal of mass tort cases is to get compensation for the individuals injured by the defendant companies. However, sometimes, these damages just aren’t enough to deter companies from continuing to market dangerous products in the future. This is why mass tort attorneys aren’t the only people who file claims against companies like Glaxo Smith Kline.

History has shown that the States are not afraid to go after big businesses when it comes to marketing unsafe products. Of course, we usually only see this when there the states lose money because of the damage these products do. For example, if the government has to cover healthcare costs caused by these products, they want to be able to hold the defendant responsible for these costs.

In addition to civil penalties, we have seen several cases where a company’s behavior is so egregious, they are held criminally responsible. While it’s very rare that people who own these companies ever face actual jail time, there are other consequences they do face. This usually comes in the form of stiff fines and penalties.

Here, we’ll discuss two instances of when big companies faced legal action from multiple directions due to their dangerous products. In both cases, the manufacturers were found to acted so recklessly that the states had to step in and send a message.


Glaxo-Smith Kline and the Wellbutrin and Paxil Cases

One of the more recent cases involving drug manufacturers involved the behemoth, Glaxo-Smith Kline. Even people who aren’t familiar with pharmaceutical companies have heard of Glaxo-Smith Kline (GSK). They are arguably the biggest and most profitable drug manufacturer in the country – even the world.

GSK is the manufacturer of both Paxil and Wellbutrin. These are drugs that were approved by the FDA years ago to treat depression. Paxil was meant to treat adults suffering from depression. Wellbutrin was approved for patients suffering from major depressive disorders.

Despite the intentions approved by the FDA, GSK proceeded to market both drugs for things other than major depressive disorders. Wellbutrin was marketed and prescribed to millions of people for things like smoking cessation and even weight loss.  And, Paxil, which was specifically approved for people over the age of 18, was marketed toward children allegedly suffering from depression.

As a result of these fraudulent advertising schemes, GSK was sued by several states for healthcare fraud. The government claimed that the manufacturer should be held responsible for the costs to treat people who were injured by taking Paxil and Wellbutrin.

The courts agreed. GSK was ordered to pay $3 billion in criminal fines for illegally marketing its products. This was in addition to the millions they had to pay in settlements for private lawsuits.


Big Tobacco Was Ordered to Pay Over $200 Billion in Damages and Fines

The early litigation against Big Tobacco will go down as one of the biggest mass tort cases of all time. The four (4) largest tobacco companies in the U.S. were sued both privately and publicly for the injuries caused by tobacco products.

Smoking and tobacco were proven to cause multiple forms of health issues, including cancer. The tobacco companies knew their products were unsafe, yet they failed to warn consumers of the dangers of tobacco. As a result, there were over 800 private lawsuits filed against the companies. The litigation was ongoing all the way until 1998.

The government also filed litigation against the Big Four. They had covered billions of dollars in healthcare costs to treat illnesses caused by tobacco products. They wanted the tobacco companies to be held responsible to pay these costs.

The judgments against Big Tobacco involved billions in legal fees and settlements. However, the courts also ordered Big Tobacco to set up a victim fund that would pay $205 billion over a 25-year period. These monies were intended to help cover the healthcare costs and damages caused by tobacco products.

While the early tobacco litigation ended over 20 years ago, that doesn’t mean the war against Big Tobacco is over. There is still pending litigation against tobacco companies and only time will tell how much this will cost the companies.


Contact the Mass Tort Attorneys at Rueb Stoller Daniel Today

If you or your loved one have been injured by any dangerous product, you need to contact the mass tort attorneys at Rueb Stoller Daniel right away. If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence, you are entitled to compensation.

Call today and schedule your free initial consultation with our experienced mass tort attorneys.