Tag Archives: class action lawsuit

$417 Million Awarded in Lawsuit Against Johnson & Johnson

Johnson’s Baby Powder is a product that is found in almost every house. It’s a baby product, popular and has a lovely scent. What could possibly be the damage? You’ll be surprised.

In a recent lawsuit, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $417 million in damages, to a woman who claimed she developed ovarian cancer after using the company’s well known Johnson’s Baby Powder on her abdomen for a prolonged period of time.

The plaintiff, Eva Echeverria, a 63-year-old medical receptionist and a resident of East LA is yet another person in the long list of people who have previously taken legal action against Johnson’s Baby Powder. This lawsuit and all similar ones are based on the studies that link talcum powder to ovarian and cervical tumors.

There have been other lawsuits against the company where the decision has also gone in the plaintiff’s favor. These include a $110 million verdict in favor of a woman from Virginia; a $55 million verdict for another plaintiff from Missouri and a $72 million verdict to a woman who unfortunately died before her case was closed.

Ms. Echeverria was too sick to testify in court so she had to send a videotape of her testimony which stated that she had been using the product since she was 11 and continued even after her diagnosis with ovarian cancer in 2007, unaware that it may actually be the cause of her cancer. The only reason she stopped using the product was when she heard another woman’s lawsuit against the company for the same reason. Ms. Echeverria claims she wanted to raise awareness for other women; she wasn’t doing it for herself but her goal was to ensure that other women did not suffer the same fate that she had.

Many women use the Johnson Talc powder to avoid chafing, after the shower or sprinkle it on their sanitary pads. In defense of the company, Carol Goodrich, a spokeswoman for the company, said the company is planning to appeal the verdict to continue defending the safety of their products. She also stated that while the company realizes that ovarian cancer is a devastating diagnosis, the company sticks by its claim that Johnson’s Baby Powder is a safe product which is backed by science. The evidence was not sufficient to support any association between perineal talc exposure and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

Lawsuit Claims Landlord Increased Rent For Repairs Never Done

Rents have been consistently increasing in most parts of the country. In some cases, landlords increase the rent and tell their tenants that they are in the process of upgrading or renovating the place. However, in a large number of cases, landlords just keep the money and never upgrade the building.

This is exactly what has happened to Randy Garcia in Washington Heights, Manhattan. Randy was paying $1,800 rent, an exorbitant sum considering the fact that she has a low-paying job. After obtaining history of her rent increase, she quickly learnt that her landlord, Bronstein Properties, had doubled the rent in just four years. Under the law, to justify such an increase in rent, Bronstein would have had to perform more than $30,000 in renovations when the apartment was vacant. However, it was revealed that Bronstein had not filed a building permit for any type of renovation work.

Last week, more than 60 tenants, including Randy Garcia, filed a class action lawsuit against Bronstein Properties claiming that the corporation greatly inflated rents in regulated apartments by claiming that they had performed significant renovations. Bronstein Properties owns over ten dozen buildings with rent regulated apartments, mostly located in ungentrified neighborhoods.

In the state of New York, the rent for regulated apartments can only be increased by a certain amount every 12 months. This rule is in place to ensure that affordable housing is available for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. There are currently around 1 million unregulated apartments in New York City.

Landlords can only increase rents if they make renovations, like installing a new appliance or renovating the bathroom. They are not allowed to increase rent for mundane upkeep like painting an apartment. And if they do make a renovation, they are supposed to get a  permit first to make sure that the work is legitimate.

It is important for all tenants to know the rental history and determine why the rent is high; in general rental histories are not public record. However, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal which oversees rent regulated dwellings can provide this information if the tenant complaints of an unjustified rent increase.

It appears that for decades, Bronstein Properties has been taking advantage of its tenants, mainly  because of a lack of transparency as well as the fact that most tenants were unaware of their rights.

This lawsuit aims to change things and is being aided by the Housing Rights Initiative which aims to target all landlords who charge exorbitant rents. So far the Housing Rights Initiative has filed several class action lawsuits against many landlords.