A Florida woman and her spouse appealed a Florida court’s verdict against them in favor of Johnson & Johnson in a case involving a medication pump implanted in her body that was malfunctioning. Their case was heard in the 11th United States Circuit Court of Appeals, which ultimately ruled in favor of the corporate giant in the lawsuit over the defective product.
Imagine the couple’s shock when it was discovered that a judge responsible for ruling against them had a financial interest of approximately $100,000 in the company for which he ultimately ruled favorably.
The woman, who is partially paralyzed, could have been awarded an eight-figure judgment, monies that would have gone toward her care, which is being provided solely by her husband now. The woman is unable to leave her home due to her condition.
Their attorney wants the case to be reheard with a different panel of judges, although he is not optimistic about a reversal.
“I didn’t think the ruling was a fair one even though they tried to make it work according to their legal quotations and citations. I didn’t think it made sense,” he said.
It’s a sad fact that this case is not unique. Many times, most inadvertently, judges rule on cases wherein they or their spouse have a financial stake in the outcome.
The Center for Public Integrity discovered that the aforementioned judge heard three other appeals that involved corporations in which he was a stockholder, in clear violation of federal court regulations. In each case, the court ultimately ruled in favor of the companies for which his financial interests dovetailed.
If you have a pending products liability case in the Florida courts, your personal injury attorney can request that the judge recuse himself from the case if he stands to benefit financially from ruling against you.
Source: Huffington Post, “Federal Judges Admit Conflicts Of Interests, Leaving Litigants Reeling” Reity O’Brien, Kytja Weir, Chris Young, Apr. 28, 2014