United Allergy Labs sued by Vets for exposing Negligent Employees to Dangerous Drugs in Laboratory
A recent United States vs. Johnson & Johnson case demonstrates that the cost of settling a case can be extremely high. For example, a plaintiff who was suing for an allergy experienced financial difficulties because her family had to cut back on their monthly expenses. Her family had to save money in order to provide her with medical care and medications. Ultimately, her lawsuit was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
United Allergy Labs Lawsuit
As a result of the foregoing scenario, the plaintiff lost her first round of evidentiary hearings. This meant that her case would not be able to establish a triable issue for trial. The court therefore required that she accept a settlement offer that was lower than her case was likely to receive if tried before a jury. There are two potential reasons for a defendant to agree to such a settlement. First, the defendant may fear that the case will go to trial and that a jury will determine that they should bear the expenses and losses associated with ongoing litigation.
Second, the defendant may believe that they are at risk of being seen as “less than” reasonable while pursuing a lawsuit.
The fact is that “reasonable” is a relative term that describes what a person would consider reasonable under the circumstances. Under the facts of this case, the plaintiff’s parents were the primary caregivers of her children. It is obvious that they could never have reasonably provided the care necessary for their daughter to have been able to develop severe allergies to medications through normal house cleaning routines and to sustain injuries consistent with those allergies.
To advance their argument that the defendant bears no reasonable risk of being viewed as reasonable or innocent, the plaintiffs’ attorneys relied upon testimony by witnesses regarding the frequency with which allergy-stricken children visit their home and the lack of activities in which their daughter participated prior to developing allergies to medications.
According to the testimony, the allergy-stricken child’s participation in numerous home renovation projects unrelated to renovation projects and the activities performed therein were crucial factors in causing her to develop allergies to medications.
Specifically, she was required to scrape walls, clean bathrooms, replace flooring, paint rooms, install ceiling fans, clean windows, clean mirrors, scrub ceilings, and perform other tasks specific to the renovation projects. It is undisputed that these activities caused her extensive and acute exposure to airborne substances that can cause allergies.
As a result of this testimony, the trial court found, “Plaintiff was not an innocent victim but was in fact a product liability victim.”
Accordingly, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted summary judgment to the plaintiff granting her summary judgment motion denying her claim for compensation regarding her defective environmental allergies and is resulting from her exposure to environmental toxins. On appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed. The three-judge panel of the Appeals Court majority reversed the trial court’s ruling and held that the evidence established that plaintiff’s exposure to pollutants and toxins during the time she lived in the home resulted in her developing allergies to medications.
We affirm. A properly conducted allergy testing cannot establish that a person’s allergies to particular substances are the result of a past exposure to said substances.
Likewise, the results of allergy testing cannot establish that the exposure to a defendant’s controlled substance resulted in the development of allergy symptoms. Finally, the results of allergy testing cannot establish that a specific substance is needed to cause symptoms of allergy. There are many other factors that will lead a reasonable person to develop or increase allergies such as hereditary, weather conditions (including exposure to dust), air pollution, smoking, food allergies, and other causes.