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The Plague of Defective Goods: 5 High Profile Product Liability Cases

You might think that product liability cases are little more than a way for people to make a quick buck off of major corporations.

But the fact of the matter is that sometimes, a defective product can put a user at risk and can even take their life.

Keep reading as we detail five high profile product liability cases that shocked the world.

1. Some Like it Hot

Kicking off our list is maybe the most well-known product liability case. You may not recognize Liebeck v. McDonald’s by name, but you might remember the story of the woman who scorched the inside of her thigh due to an excessively hot coffee.

The story became national news and was, for the most part, quite misunderstood. People laughed the story away when news broke that a woman was suing McDonald’s because she spilled coffee on her self.

However, the 72-year-old Liebeck sustained major injuries with McDonald’s refusing to even cover her medical costs. Later, it came out that the coffee was too hot for safe consumption.

Liebeck eventually won her case and was awarded $2.7 million.

2. Microsoft’s Game Over

The release of new technology is always exciting. But if you’re paying big bucks for the hottest new release, you should expect it to at least work.

By all accounts, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 should’ve been a runaway hit.

However, the gaming console’s release was marred by controversy when thousands of individuals booted up their shiny new devices only to get greeted by three red lights.

Their consoles were bricked, thus making the product defective right out of the box.

The disaster, along with another suit claiming that the console scratched consumers’ discs, cost Microsoft millions in legal and repair fees and took years to settle.

3. Samsung’s Phones Are Too Hot to Handle

Say what you will about the Xbox 360, but at least it never injured anyone. That’s more than we can say about our next product liability case involving exploding Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices.

Yes, you read that right. The phone was so faulty that it would regularly heat up to the point of becoming too hot to hold.

And that’s if you were lucky. Several hundred people sustained injuries from the mobile device, and some devices caught fire.

As Brauns Law, PC notes, product liability can be traumatic. Sometimes a simple apology isn’t enough, especially when medical bills are involved.

4. Two-Timed by Toyota

Toyota’s big blunder isn’t dissimilar to Samsung’s

In 2009, the manufacturer released several new lines of vehicles. The new cars promised top-of-the-line comfort, quality steering, and snazzy new features.

Unfortunately, Toyota spent too much on their new gadgets and gizmos and not enough time testing their vehicles.

Some customers got a little too fast and furious when their gas pedals stuck to the floor mat, making it impossible to slow down.

The resulting injuries were so bad that Toyota had to recall thousands of vehicles between 2009 and 2011.

5. Where There’s Smoke…

Everyone knows that smoking isn’t great for you. But not everyone knows just how much damage smoking can do to your lungs.

In 2002, an elderly woman sued Philip Morris, claiming that their cigarette packaging filed to warn her about the links between smoking and cancer.

The court ruled in favor of the woman, demanding that Philip Morris change its labeling and pay the woman $28 billion in damages (the final payment was closer to $28 million).

Takeaways From These High-Profile Product Liability Cases

If there’s one thing you should take away from this article, it’s that lawsuits against major corporations aren’t always frivolous.

In fact, as each of these five product liability cases proves, sometimes legal action is the only method we have to hold corporations accountable.

Want to read up on more exciting high profile cases? Check out our guide to the 10 famous Supreme Court cases that rocked the nation.

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