Surgery gown manufacturer hit with $454 million jury verdict

Kimberly-Clark Corp. and its spinoff Halyard Health Inc. were hit with a $454 million jury verdict, which included $350 million in punitive damages in a class action alleging that their surgery gowns were passed off as essentially impermeable, but were actually very porous.

Although the punitive damages amount may be reduced, because it exceeds the compensatory damages by almost a hundredfold, it demonstrates the jury’s anger sparked by evidence taken from internal company documents showing the company was aware of issues regarding the quality of the gowns’ seams and testing failures.

The amount of the punitive damages was somewhat surprising given that no physical injuries resulting from a failure to protect the wearer have been reported to date. The plaintiff alleged that even though the gowns are marketed as “impermeable” and effective against pathogens like Ebola, they put health care workers at substantial risk.

Steve Larson
An experienced trial lawyer who handles both hourly and contingent fee cases, Steve has expertise in class actions, antitrust litigation, securities litigation, corporate disputes, intellectual property disputes, unfair competition claims, and disputes involving family wealth. Steve regularly represents individuals and businesses in federal and state court and has obtained class-wide recovery in multiple class actions. A veteran practitioner, Steve's clients value his creative approach to resolving complex litigation matters.


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