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The antibiotic family of fluoroquinolones goes by many brand names, including Cipro, Levaquin, and Avelox. Every year, millions of Americans take fluoroquinolones to treat bacterial infections, including urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and bronchitis. Since the antibiotics work on a number of different conditions, they are popular among doctors.

Surprisingly Diverse Dangers

However, new studies indicate that these medications can also have serious side effects. These studies have linked fluoroquinolone use to risks like peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is a form of permanent nerve damage.  It can result in constant pain and often, limited mobility. In many cases, peripheral neuropathy is irreversible, which means that patients who develop it must live with pain and impairment for the rest of their lives.

Currently, several pharmaceutical companies are facing lawsuits filed by patients who have suffered irreversible peripheral neuropathy after taking fluoroquinolone. Evidence in court documents indicates that drug companies may have known about the nerve damage risks as early as 1996, but they did not remove these medications from the market or alert patients and doctors to the risks.

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The Essure Permanent Birth Control System was to provide women a safer, less involved (and painful) tubal ligation alternative. This medical device was triumphantly marketed as the “[only] FDA-approved permanent form of birth control with a procedure that can be performed in an office setting without general anesthesia.” Unfortunately for the 750,000 women who have used this system since the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved it in 2002, both new scientific research and anecdotal evidence suggest that Essure has caused substantial injuries to thousands of patients, motivating calls among consumer advocates for the drug’s recall and spurring legal action.

How Essure Works and Why the System Appeals to Women

The Essure system consists of two flexible coils that are inserted into the Fallopian tubes in order to produce permanent sterilization. Both patients and doctors have liked Essure, at least conceptually, because the system offers a less-invasive solution than tubal ligation and other birth control surgeries, ostensibly with shorter healing time and fewer side effects. Premarket studies tracked women’s pregnancies before and after Essure implantation, leading Bayer to assert that the device is 99.83 percent effective at preventing pregnancy and that “mild to moderate pain” and “spotting” are the most common side effects.

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Today, a U.S. Judicial on Multidistrict Litigation panel of federal judges will hear arguments on Plaintiffs’ request to consolidate all of the knee and hip infection lawsuits that have been filed in federal court claims the infection was allegedly caused by a 3M Bair Hugger warming blanket.

What These Bair Hugger Cases Are About

Bair Hugger MDL Coming Soon?

Bair Hugger MDL Coming Soon?

A Bair Hugger device is a temperature management system that is used during surgery.  The purpose of the invention is to help the body regulate the appropriate temperature. The Bair Hugger pushed hot air through a hose into a blanket specially made to work with the device.

Keeping a patient warm is particularly useful during knee and hip replacement surgery because the procedures tend to be long.   The body loses heat increasingly over the course of surgery.

Another thing about metal hip and knee replacement surgery is that your body is particularly prone to infection. Why?  The metal helps spread the infection.

So if you are not already familiar with this litigation, you know where this is going. The device is blowing bacteria on the patient.  If bacteria in a surgical site is not bad enough, the metal helps grease the wheels of further infection.

One estimate puts the number of surgical procedures using the Bair Hugger at over 100 million.  These will likely be thousands of lawsuits.  At the core of these claims will be the idea that the design of these blowers was flawed.  Given the risks of blowing bacteria in the surgical area, plaintiffs’ lawsuits allege that the Bair Hugger should have been designed to prevent internal contamination and the emission of airborne contamination.  One big problem for 3M is going to be a study that found that 96% of the Bair Hugger systems were dispersing inordinately excessive levels of contaminants.

This will also be a “what did you know and when did you know it?” lawsuit.  Plaintiffs’ lawsuits will also contend that setting aside the design failure and the failure to test, the manufacturer knew or should have known of the risk of infection the Bair Hugger was causing and did nothing about it.

Bair Hugger Class Action

I’m using the phrase “class action” but that is not really what plaintiffs’ lawyers are seeking.  The are more of a “sort of” class action called an MDL.  I explain more fully what an MDL is here. If the MDL panel agrees with the plaintiffs’ attorneys, all of the cases federal Bair Hugger cases would be consolidated into one case under one federal court judge.  Pre-trial discovery into issues common to all of the cases would be conducted.  Typically, the MDL judge will preside over a few trials to help the parties better understand the value of the claims. If that does not lead to a global settlement, the cases would be sent to local federal courts around the country for pre-trial discovery specific to that case and then trial.

3M opposes consolidation of the cases.  But I think it is inevitable.  Even if the MDL Panel denies this effort, the sheer number of cases is going to cause the judges to agree to consolidation.

Getting a Lawyer

Our law firm is signing up clients for what we believe will be MDL class action claim consolidated under one federal court judge in the Bair Hugger infection cases. Our focus is on kneed and hip cases where the victim needed to undergo subsequent treatment or subsequent surgery for an infection, call us at 800-553-8082 or get a free consultation online.

 

 

 

 

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A South Dakota judge ruled this week that health care providers are subject to negligent credentialing lawsuits when they fail to properly malletjusticecredential doctors.

Judge Bruce Anderson made another important ruling: that even people on the credentialing committee may be subject to suit.   This has not real practical implications because a hospitals is going to stand behind the committee.  But it is never fun to be sued personally even if you have no real exposure.

The judge also found that hospitals cannot claim peer review privileges, as an absolute defense against discovery requests.  This is very pro patient safety and could be a ruling that could start to erode the absolute defense from discovery; that has long been the case in Maryland and in most states. The judge’s logic: hospitals may have an obligation, in some cases, to the public that outweighs peer review confidentiality.  Makes a lot of sense to me.

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Legal writingThis is a sample demand letter in a relatively small case with approximately $8,000 in medical bills.  But this case settled for a lot more than any kind of simple multiplier of medical bills.   This times special damages math is dangerous when it causes plaintiffs’ personal injury lawyers (and victims) to substantially undervalue a claim.

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Bad news for Plaintiffs’ in the first liver damage lawsuit involving Tylenol.  A ten juror panel in New Jersey found for Johnson & Johnson (J&J) on all counts on Friday.  This is the first Tylenol liver damage lawsuit to go to trial.  It will not be the last.

RisperdalclaimsThe lawsuit alleged that a 55 year old woman suffered liver damage as the result of the use of Extra Strength Tylenol.  But the jury seemed to find that the injuries occurred before she took Tylenol.

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Big update in the pelvic mesh lawsuits and it is not a good one.  A Texas jury yesterday found for Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) Ethicon division in a Gravel and Moneypelvic mesh claim.  Twelve Dallas jurors found that the Prosima pelvic mesh, given to women who suffer from pelvic organ prolapse, was not defective in its design, and that J&J did not fail to properly inform doctors of the risks and problems associated with this product.   It was no slam dunk.  Unlike a lot of states, Texas does not require an unanimous verdict in civil cases.  So a 10-2 vote was good enough for J&J to eke out a win.

It is just one case, but I’m not going to lie, this was one the Plaintiffs’ wanted to win.  I’ll be honest about something else.  I’m surprised J&J let this case go to trial.  They have been picking off cases to avoid a bellwether effect on settlement value that is going to wildly increase the expectations of Plaintiffs and make these cases that much harder to settle.  On this one, they gambled and won.

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A recent study of jury verdicts found that the average personal injury jury verdict in Pennsylvania is $903,705.00.Pennsylvania Sign

Now let’s turn the kaleidoscope and look at the median.  If you remember from the 9th grade, the median is found by ranking the data from biggest to smallest, and then identifying the middle of the data so that there is an equal number that are larger and smaller on each side.  If you had 1001 data points, the 500th biggest number would be in the middle.

For many groups of data, the gap between the average and the median is the same or very close to it.  With personal injury verdicts, they are usually light years apart.  This is reflected in this new study that just came out in Pennsylvania.  The median compensatory award in Pennsylvania in the study was was $45,000.00

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Jury Verdict Research conducted a study and found that the median award in a personal injury case is approximately $100,000.  This is twice the national average.  The bad news for New Jersey PlaintiffsNew Jersey sign is that they only win in 36 percent of personal injury cases that go to trial.

New Jersey has a good sample size to work with to compute this data.  Over 130,000 civil lawsuits are filed every year.  I don’t have data on how many of them are personal injury cases.  But I can estimate: a lot.

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The United States uses a federalist system of government. This allows each of the fifty states to be fairly autonomous and limits the amount of power that the federal government possesses. One of the consequences of having this type of system is that there are state entities and federal entities. Courts are a prime example. There are both federal and  state courts, so it is important to have a grasp of their respective purposes and powers.

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