Any time an individual brings a lawsuit against a corporation after being seriously injured because of a defective product or negligent behavior, it is a David-and-Goliath situation. Large corporations always have more resources. However, when a hundred or more people join forces, they can often present a stronger, more convincing case, which is why a class action lawsuit can be an effective legal strategy.
Injury-related class action suits often involve the following:
- Defective medical device or product
- Dangerous pharmaceutical product
- Negligent or misleading advertising
An example of a medical device with a manufacturing flaw is the Guidant Defibrillator, a device implanted in the chests of patients with an irregular heartbeat. In 2002, the manufacturer discovered an electrical flaw that could short-circuit – and the unexpected death of the patient. They fixed the problem, but patients filed a class action suit claiming that the company continued to implant defective devices in the months before they remedied the situation.
The class action lawsuits against the pain-reliever Vioxx were based on claims that the manufacturer, Merck, withheld evidence about dangerous side effects, including a high risk of heart attack and stroke. Merck also had an aggressive campaign to pressure doctors to use this drug. It was taken off the market in 2004.