Its huge award to Hulk Hogan for Gawker's invasion of his privacy sent this message: The legal system and public opinion had established lines that digital tabloids such as Gawker couldn't cross.
Gawker went out of business. Its founder-Nick Denton-melted away. Just like the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz.
A Los Angeles jury is also changing the world of BigPharma.
It awarded $417 million to Eva Echeverria. Members of the jury were convinced that, as Charisse Jones reports in USA Today:
" ... Johnson & Johnson was aware of the potential dangers from consistently using its talcum-based products for personal hygiene but refused to warn the public."
So much for the powerful brand equity Johnson & Johnson had acquired during its management of the Tylenol tampering crisis. Clearly, that equity has been blown into a billion bits.
This jury verdict will throw shade on the branding of all pharma firms of all sizes. It will take years of reputation restoration for the industry to regain trust-if that is possible. My hunch is that this development will be cited in the future editions Edelman Trust Barometer.
Count on stricter regulations for pharma when the Democrats re-gain control of power inside the beltway.
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