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Avelox  can cause peripheral neuropathy within days of use.   This condition is a type of nerve damage.  It is extremely serious.  It can cause muscle weakness, numbness and pain that can potentially last a lifetime.   We are rapidly learning more about the connection between Avelox and neuropathy and it is leading to lawsuits.  If you believe you have a potential claim, call us at 800-553-8082 or get for a free online consultation.

Avelox History

Avelox is a fourth-generation synthetic fluoroquinolone antibiotic. The drug is sold in over 80 countries worldwide and is available in intravenous, topical, and oral forms. It is effective at treating gram negative and gram positive bacteria such as Escherichia Coli (E. choli) and Streptococcus Pneumoniae. Avelox works by interfering with bacterial DNA gyrase. During this process, the drug binds to certain enzymes, preventing DNA replication.

Unfortunately, despite these positive benefits, the drug also interacts with a variety of different receptors in the central nervous system (including GABAa receptors).  GABAa receptors are found throughout the central nervous system. When activated, GABAa receptors cause hyperpolarization of the neurons, inhibiting neurotransmission of critical information. The net effect is that a patient begins experiencing peripheral neuropathy, a condition characterized by pain, burning, tingling, numbness, weakness, sensitivity, and lack of neuromuscular coordination. This condition often appears very quickly after taking Avelox and may last for an indefinite period of time. In many cases, the condition may be permanent.

Avelox was first approved by the United States Food and Drugs Administration in 1999. Recent lawsuits have alleged that as early as 2001, Avelox’s manufacturer, Bayer and Merck, were aware of the risks associated with Avelox and peripheral neuropathy and yet did nothing about it. In fact, in one of the first post marketing studies in 2001, researchers found a clear association between the drug and long-term nerve damage. Despite knowing these risk factors, Bayer and Merck continued to market the drug with little or no warnings in either the package insert or on the box itself.

What We Have Now Learned About Avelox and Neuropathy

In August 2013, the FDA required new warnings regarding the effects of Avelox and neuropathy. These warnings were supposed to be included in the package insert and on the product’s packaging material. The FDA safety announcement specified that “the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required the drug labels and Medication Guides for all fluoroquinolone antibacterial drugs be updated to better describe the serious side effect of peripheral neuropathy. This serious nerve damage potentially caused by fluoroquinolones may occur soon after these drugs are taken and may be permanent.”  Included in this announcement was data dating back to 2003 indicating a continued association between fluoroquinolone use and disabling peripheral neuropathy.

Unfortunately, for many individuals these changes come too late in the game. Many doctors have been prescribing Avelox for years, and for many patients, the effects of Avelox have become long-lasting and permanent.

Fortunately, some patients have decided to fight back, filing lawsuits against the manufacturers of Avelox in federal court alleging failure to warn, negligence, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, strict liability, violation of consumer protection laws, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Many of these lawsuits are seeking both compensatory and punitive damages. It should be noted that these kinds of lawsuits can be complicated and should only be handled by an experienced personal injury attorney.

Getting Help from a Lawyer

These cases are new.  There is still a lot to learn about what happened and what Merck and Bayer knew about  Avelox and neuropathy.  But we believe these will be viable claims.  If you or a loved one has been seriously hurt or killed by taking the drug Avelox, you want answers and you want to be compensated for the harm that was done. Call us at 800-553-8082 or get for a free online consultation.

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hellokittyMcDonald’s has announced the recall of their Hello Kitty Themed Whistles due to choking concerns.  ‘Tis the season, right?  This recall will be followed by an onslaught of recalls as the holiday season gets underway.  All kinds of manufacturers rushing their product to market just in time for the shopping season to begin, with little to no concern for the dangers being imposed on our children.  But I digress…back to the recall at hand.

McDonald’s has recalled approximately 2.5 million plastic Hello Kitty figurines.  The figurines contain a whistle that can make sounds when inhaling or exhaling through the mouthpiece.  McDonald’s has received two reports of children who coughed out pieces of the whistle that they had sucked into their mouths.  Consumers can return the whistle to McDonald’s for a free replacement toy, yogurt, or bag of apple slices.

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judge1Everyone understands that people can be productive much later in life than they could just 20 or 30 years ago.  Thirty-three states have laws with a specific retirement age for judges.  The youngest and most common mandatory retirement age is 70 years-old.  The new reality is a good one: 70 is just not that old anymore.
The reality is that there are only so many good judges out there.  Judicial vacancy rates are very high in some states. The idea of an experienced jurist sitting at home who is still fully competent to sit on the bench depresses a lot of us who really want judges who can call the balls and strikes and give the parties a fair trial.   So states have been working to change these mandatory retirement age laws.
How is it going?  These efforts keep failing spectacularly.  In Louisiana, they tried to fix this problem this November with a ballot, with the Louisiana Mandatory Retirement Amendment by eliminating mandatory retirement at age of 70 for judges in Louisiana.  It failed spectacularly, as did a similar measure in Hawaii, to raise retirement age from 70 to 80.  New York  made a similar effort in 2013 and the measure was trounced in Reagan over Mondale proportions, 58-42.  Ohio tried in raise the age to 70 from 76 in 2011 and that also failed.

Why These Laws Are Not Being Changed

The first problem is that many of these states have embedded the idea of a retirement age for judges in their state constitutions.   Now, there is a judicial disability commission in every state, so getting rid of incompetent judges, while tough, is doable.   In the days of these state constitutions, you were pretty much stuck with a judge until he — it was always a he – died.  So, as a result, the law is harder to change because the state constitution has to be amended.  What this requires varies from state-to-state.  But typically it requires the bill be passed by both houses, sometimes by super majority, signed by the governor, and put on the ballot.
But, as you see, even when these initiatives get on the ballot, they struggle mightily.  Why is that?  I couldn’t tell you.  Certainly, this is a clean issue.  There are no lobbyist or muckrakers weighing in because no one really has a horse in this race besides the judges and people who generally want justice.  Which means there is no money in it!
I did a little research on the question while writing this post.   Raising the age certainly would mean more testing of the judges which they would find offensive.  But that concern is not filtering down to the lay voter who is making a call on this without any real context or perspective.  Why is Jane Q. Public against this?  No clue.

Isn’t It Illegal to Discriminate Based on Age?

It is illegal to discriminate on the basis of age.  The Age Discrimination in Employment Act expressly prohibits employers, including the state,  from terminating any employee because they are too old (if they are over 40).  But there are exemptions and one of them easily lassos judges: individuals who are appointees on the policy making level or any person elected to public office.   There is a lot of intellectual debate about this but, ultimately it does cover judges.

End Run Around the Rule

In Maryland and many other states, there is a way around mandatory retirement.  It is a very common practice in Maryland to allow retired judges to return to our trial courts and even Maryland’s highest appellate court to hear cases.  These judges are paid by the day.  But rarely is money an issue one way or the other for these judges.  They want to keep doing it because they enjoy it and it is a part of their identify.
But what we have is the worst case scenario.  A rule that judges can backdoor which circumvents the will of the legislature or, with these ballot initiatives, the people.
Ultimately, it seems like the best solution would be to modify the ADEA to exclude judges.  But as I write that, I immediately want to take it back.  You cannot backdoor what appears to be the will of the people on an issue as critical as judges.  The only thing that can happen to really change this is for people to better understand that 70 no longer makes any sense.  Since judges over 70 do not have lobbyists or PR people, this is just something that is going to come with time.  In the meantime, we are going to have a lot of qualified judges sitting at home twiddling their thumbs.  And that is a sad thing.
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testosteroneLow testosterone levels have been linked to fatigue, muscle and bone loss, and a decrease in libido.  If you are over 35 and these things are hitting you… well, it sucks. But, all too often in 2014, the cure is worse than the original disease.  There is a lot of good science out there suggesting that these therapies increase the risk cardiac injury in a group already prone to heart disease.   A lot of lawsuits have followed.  This article explains where these class action lawsuits are now and what plaintiff can expect moving forward.

The Premise of These Cases

In January 2014, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it was investigating potential testosterone therapy risks.  This was prompted after several studies suggested that the side effects of testosterone treatments may increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, and death. The risks may be as much as double for a heart attack in young men with heart disease as well as for men 65 years of age and older, even those who have had no heart problems. Additional concerns with the products include the increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) which can lead to life-threatening complications including pulmonary embolisms.  DVT is where the body develops blood clots in the deep veins, most commonly in the legs.  These blood clots can break off and travel through the body resulting in potentially life-threatening complications.

The first lawsuits were filed four days after the FDA announced  its investigation.  Is that a little too soon?  Probably.  Does it underscore the idea that lawyers are vultures?  Absolutely.  But all of this, as I talk about below, distracts us from the real issue: are low T drugs killing people?

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judge4Bellwether trials are the first trials in a mass tort case.  Cases are selected for trial that are thought to be representative of a particular issue in other cases in the class action.  While the results of the trial are not binding on anyone other than the parties to the trial, the results are considered to be instructive on the value of the cases.

Why are they called “bellwether”?  It is a good question.  I never had any idea.  In fact, for the first few years of my career I spelled it as “bellweather” trials.  No one every corrected me.  But apparently the genesis of the use of the word bellwether comes from belling a wether, which is a male sheep, who is elected to lead a group of sheep.  The farmer would determine whether the wether was a good choice for the bell if the flock seemed to trust the sheep who had the bell.  How this made its way in the MDL mass tort lexicon is anyone’s guess.

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agonized womanThe big news last week is that C.R. Bard will pay $21 million to settle 500 vaginal mesh lawsuits filed against it.

Good deal for plaintiffs?  Not so much.  This comes out to a little over $40,000 a case.  Most of the women in these complaints have suffered real injuries with organ damage.  So you get painful and often debilitating complications from these surgical mesh implants and you get $40,000?  What on earth is happening here besides C.R. Bard’s stock price shooting up after the announcement?

The Method to the Madness

I think C.R. Bard is playing a little psychology trick.  It is smart and it just might work a little unless the victims and their lawyers are smart.

If you ask the average vaginal mesh victim how much they expect to get in a settlement, the numbers would range from a few thousand dollars to millions.  No one is given any guidance on what the values of these cases are or even the ranges of values.  Lawyers talk themselves into circles when asked about the settlement value of the case.  No one wants to give a straight answer because no one wants to be wrong.  If you were to guess the outcome of the average settlement of a mass tort case from the beginning, you would probably be very wrong.  I like tracking the pay-per-click costs of drug injury cases.  They make the stock market seem stable.  The expected values of these cases rise and fall and rise and fall and where it stops no one knows.

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sickwomanBenicar, prescribed to treat hypertension and high blood pressure, keeps blood vessels from narrowing and improving blood flow.  Unfortunately, for some consumers, the side-effects far outweigh the benefits.  While first released on the market in 2002, it wasn’t until June 2013 that the FDA issued a warning that Benicar can cause sprue-like enteropathy.

Sprue-like enteropathy is a disorder which can present itself with side effects much like that of celiac disease.  Symptoms such as chronic diarrhea, substantial weight loss, vomiting, dehydration, villous atrophy, and even colon perforation – all serious side-effects, all of which typically stop once the medication is discontinued.  Which is pretty strong evidence of a connection, right? Continue reading →

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hairSome women are born with beautiful, straight hair – others will go to great “lengths” to get it.  Unfortunately, sometimes the damage far outweighs the benefits.

If you were one of the unlucky consumers that had drastically negative results from Suave’s Keratin treatments, hopefully you have filed your claim, as the deadline to file a claim under the Suave Keratin Infusion class action settlement has passed.  September 25th was the last day to file your claim for part of the $10.2 million that Unilever United States Inc. agreed to pay in order to settle a class action lawsuit accusing it of marketing and selling a Suave-brand hair treatment that causes significant hair loss.  Class Members of the proposed Suave Keratin settlement include all individuals who purchased or used the Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion 30-Day Smoothing Kit before Feb. 17, 2014.

Why are we writing about it now?  Good question.  It seems over. But there still seems to be a lot of interest out there so we thought we would take a look back at what happened here.

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viagraRecently, we told you that new studies are reporting that men who have used Viagra for ED had a significantly elevated risk of melanoma.  New studies prove there’s yet a new concern.

One of the most well recognized brand-name medications,Viagra is used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) by relaxing muscles and increasing blood flow to particular areas of the body.  New research has indicated that approximately one out of every 50 men who have used Viagra may experience visual disturbances. These disturbances can include blurred vision, sensitivity to light, and even total blindness.

Researchers are now reporting that Viagra may not be suitable for men who carry a gene mutation associated with the inherited eye condition, retinitis pigmentosa.  Retinitis pigmentosa is a hereditary condition that causes progressive loss of light reception and the outer fields of vision, leading to tunnel vision and blindness.  As temporary visual disturbances have been reported by some people after taking sildenafil, a study investigating the effects on the retina of mice was conducted.

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MMsLogoThere is a recall of some ounce Theater Box M&M’s because they may be peanut butter M&Ms even though they are not marked that way.

What happened?  I don’t know.  The FDA says theater boxes labeled as “milk chocolate” actually contained “peanut butter” M&Ms.  Of course, peanut butter is not listed as an allergen on the outside box for regular M&Ms.
The boxes included in the recall were shipped to 30 states, including West Virginia, between May 8th, and July 1st of this year.  How long do theaters hold on to this stuff?  Who knows?

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