Products Liability-Record $70 Million Punitive Damage Award Pending Appeal
Kuhlmann et al. v. Ethicon Endo-Surgery Appellate Case No. A147945, Court of Appeal, First District
A record high $70 million punitive damages verdict against Johnson & Johnson in a lawsuit over a defective surgery stapler is up on appeal. Johnson & Johnson contends the evidence does not support the jury’s finding the stapler manufacturer acted with malice. If the verdict is allowed to stand, it will be the highest punitive award affirmed by a California court. Johnson & Johnson’s attorneys claim the amount is excessive, as it far exceeds what courts have approved for cases involving far more reprehensible alleged misconduct, such as harm caused by asbestos or the tobacco industry.