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Tylenol death suit is settled out of court

Published May 14, 1991|Updated Oct. 13, 2005

The families of seven people who died in 1982 after taking cyanide-laced Tylenol reached a settlement with the drug's manufacturer just as the case was going to trial. The settlement with McNeil Consumer Products was reached as jury selection was scheduled to begin.

Under the settlement, McNeil admits no liability for the deaths, lawyers for both sides said. Terms of the agreement were kept confidential.

"Though there is no way we could have anticipated a criminal tampering with our product or prevented it, we wanted to do something for the families and finally get this tragic event behind us," said Bob Kniffin, a vice president of Johnson & Johnson, McNeil's parent company.

Philip Corboy, one of the attorneys for the families, said the eight children whose parents were among the victims will "now be able to go to college and have their education taken care of by Johnson & Johnson."

The victims' families weren't present when Cook County Circuit Judge Warren Wolfson announced the settlement.

The lawsuit, filed in 1983, alleged that McNeil should have known its Tylenol capsules could be tampered with and should have acted to protect consumers.

The seven died between Sept. 29 and Oct. 1, 1982, after taking tainted Extra-Strength Tylenol. No one has been charged in the deaths.

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