Articles Posted in Featured Lawsuits

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Earlier this year, a request was filed asking the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) for centralized management of Lipitor cases, in order to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid conflicting rulings from different judges, and for the overall convenience of the parties, witnesses, and the courts.  That request was denied as there was an insufficient number of cases that had been brought in order to justify the request.  At that time, I said the motion was denied for now.  Well, “for now” has passed and we are taking another swing.

lipitor With approximately 62 Lipitor lawsuits pending in 21 different districts, involving a total of 131 plaintiffs, the Motion to Transfer has been filed again.  The motion argues that the majority of the cases are in the same early procedural stage.  When the prior request was shot down, there were only 24 cases having been filed.

Lipitor, intended to help lower cholesterol and improve health, was first required by the FDA to provide new diabetes warnings for first time users in February of last year.  Warnings indicated that they face an increased risk in change of blood glucose levels. Since that time, a growing number of women have brought product liability lawsuits against Pfizer after developing diabetes, alleging that at Pfizer should have known about the risk of type 2 diabetes for women.  Plaintiffs are claiming that if they had been properly informed, they could have made a more informed decision as to whether or not they should take the medication.

It has been suggested that thousands of federal cases will be filed in U.S. District Court nationwide.  But for now, the fate of the requested MDL is expected to be argued in either December or January.

My prediction is that we will have MDL in these cases by the end of the year.  It makes too much sense to consolidate these cases.

Get a Real Advocate on Your Side

Our lawyers are reviewing claims that Lipitor may have caused diabetes. If you think you or someone you love may have diabetes as the result of having taking this drug, call one of our Lipitor lawyers at 800-553-8082. You can also get a free Internet consultation for your potential lawsuit.

To find out more about this drug and the MDL:

 

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We are seeing more and more legal claims alleging Risperdal and Invega are causing young men to grow breasts.

johnsonjohnson3The condition is called gynecomastia.  It is easy to joke about this condition if you are, you know, an idiot.  In these cases, it is has a real mental and physical impact on young men who are already having some challenges coping as it is.

We have known for a long time that some legal and illegal recreational drugs can cause this condition:   alcohol, marijuana, heroin, and Valium.  But there are some antibiotics, blood pressure medication, anti-ulcer medication and other drugs that cause this condition.

What happens is that Risperdal, which is an antipsychotic medication, increases the level of prolactin in young men who use the drug.  We have known for a long time that prolactin is a hormone that stimulates breast growth. In young males, increased prolactin has been linked to the development and enlargement of breast tissue. This medical condition is called gynecomastia.

The Allegations in Plaintiffs’ Lawsuits

Plaintiffs don’t whine in legal papers filed with the court that all drugs should be made safely.  Instead, the suits allege inadequate warnings were given to consumers and doctors about the risk of developing breasts following use of the drug.

Why would Johnson & Johnson not let consumers know about the possible harms this drug could cause? Well, one possibility is that they were worried that profits would sink if they were honest about the medication’s side effect. Sound like a pretty sinister suggestion which should be taken with a grain of salt coming from someone who is writing a blog post that will conveniently at the end ask you to call him if you have a case.   Okay.  Fair enough.  But just read this.  You also might read about the $1.2 billion dollar hit J&J took after a jury found that the company minimized or concealed the dangers of this drug.    We know from the jury verdict that J&J knew Risperdal had the potential to cause diabetes, diabetes-related injuries, and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular complications, but allegedly failed to properly disclose these facts on their packaging and manipulated studies to guarantee the results would not show these complications.

Keep in mind what Risperdal is used for:  bi-polar disorders, autism, aggression and behavior problems.  Aren’t these the same kids that are most susceptible to struggle with the emotional pain that is going to come with developing breasts?  So we are basically throwing flames on a fire here.  You are putting compromised kids in an even tougher spot because you want to sell as much of your drug as possible.   It is just not how it should be.

Filing a Lawsuit

If you or a loved one has suffered any negative effects as a result of  Risperdal or Invega, protect your rights. Call us at 800-553-8082 or talk to us online.  There is no fee or cost for you in pursuing your claim unless you win a recovery.

 

 

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davinci

Great technology… if it works

Victims and attorneys have been complaining about da Vinci robotic surgery pr0blems and have made their voice heard by filing lawsuits.  The financial exposure of these suits is, I’m sure, a concern of Intuitive Systems.  But, I think the voices they listen to the most are those on Wall Street.

What is Wall Street saying?  There is a concern now that all of these complications with these da Vinci robots are not yet baked into Intuitive System’s stock price which, in spite of a surge today,  has already taken a beating this year.

These robots are not being purchased or bragged about by hospitals as they have been, just last year.  The company has blamed the drop in sales on the lack of hospital dollars for new technologies.

But so far this year, there have been 4,603 adverse event records that have been posted for da Vinci.  Sure, it is a big country.  But let’s put this in context.  There were 4603 reports about this technology over the last 12 years.

It gets worse.  In August, the number of injury or death events rose to 103 which is the triple that of any other month.

Wall Street is a bit slow in figuring all of this out, but now it is asking the same question lawyers have been asking for a few years.
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More than 30,000 complaints have been filed nationwide involving complications associated with vaginal mesh surgery.  Women have been waiting forever to resolve these claims.  Now, new hope is on the horizon as global settlement talks have begun.

stressed womanC.R. Bard, American Medical Systems (AMS), Boston Scientific, Coloplast Corp, and Cook Medical and a few other smaller companies are now negotiating settlement with plaintiffs’ counsel.

Who is missing from the table?  If you are following these cases, you can guess:  Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon).   Typical.

Some manufacturers, such as Bard and Endo, already have settled some suits over the devices. Earlier this year, Endo officials paid $54.5 million to settle an unspecified number of cases alleging the company’s vaginal-mesh inserts were defective.

Coloplast is also at the lead of pushing the settlement ball forward.  It hopes to resolve most of the 600 cases it faces.  The company is aiming to resolve all pending litigation over the devices by the end of the year.  That won’t happen but they might be able to make a real dent in their number of outstanding suits.

In addition to the thousands of cases filed in state court, there are close to 10,000 cases filed at the federal level. There are currently six different multidistrict litigations (MDLs) that are being presided over by one U.S. District Court Judge. All of these complaints involve similar allegations that the transvaginal mesh and bladder sling manufacturers failed to adequately warn about the risk of problems associated with the use of the mesh.

The majority of women who have filed product liability lawsuits against mesh makers claim permanent and debilitating injury including nerve damage, chronic pain and an inability to resume work or sexual activities. They experience mesh erosion, infection and multiple removal surgeries. Some attempt reconstruction surgery.  According to the FDA, between January 2008 and December 2010, there were nearly 3,000 adverse event reports involving transvaginal mesh devices.

How Much Are Vaginal Mesh Cases Worth?

These cases are going to reach very different out-of-court resolutions.  Among these thousands of women are wrongful death claims and cases that really should never have been brought.  Most fall in the middle with very different injuries.  Some manufacturers will look at every single case individually.  Others will set up a tier system where points are awarded (I know, an awful way to put it) based on what injuries were suffered.

But how much are we talking about?  I think the majority of these cases will settle between $200,000 and $400,000.  I base this prediction on the injuries suffered, the two verdicts we have already seen, and the desire of these device makers to close this ugly chapter of their history.

Keep in mind this projected amount is for actual meritorious cases.  What we don’t know is how many of these 15,000 suits are really just women who have received the mesh and had a relatively successful outcome.  The reality is some plaintiffs’ counsel in these cases can be very aggressive in signing up clients that may not have significant injuries.  But I’m talking here about women who were really hurt by these products.

Filing a Lawsuit

If you or a loved one has suffered any negative effects as a result of  transvaginal mesh, protect your rights. Call us at 800-553-8082 or talk to us online.  There is no fee or cost for you in pursuing your claim unless you win a recovery.

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I don’t think the vaginal mesh manufacturers really want to take more of these claims to court.   The next transvaginal mesh trial should have been in New Jersey today.  But CR Bard smartly agreed to resolve an Avaulta Plus mesh case where a woman claimed the device caused her urinary problems.

vaginalmeshvictim

Latest Vaginal Mesh Update

These manufacturers must see the handwriting on the wall.  Juries have been writing in bold: you are going to lose these cases.

This is Bard’s second settlement since they got hit with a $2 million verdict in West Virginia in August.

The lesson of that trial, I think, is that a conservative jury is not going to like what these device makers have done in these cases.  Why do I say that?   The jury only awarded $250,000 in compensatory damages.  That’s pretty low.  But the jury hit Bard with more than 6 times that amount in punitive damages.  When a jury gives a punitive damages award like that, they are sending a loud message: we think you did very wrong here.

Status of Litigation

I think the majority of these cases are going to settle soon.

I once talked to a defense lawyer about these cases.  He volunteered that these are good cases for the plaintiffs.  I’m sure he would get in trouble if his client knew he was telling me this.  But it was not exactly a revelation.  There were a million mistakes made as these companies blindly chased profits.

But you can’t reach a global deal just by agreeing that plaintiffs have a good case.  You have to agree on the value. Before we started trying these cases, there was a clear difference in what the plaintiff and these device makers believed to be the real value of the cases.   These verdicts are narrowing that gap.

I think the risk of continuing to try these claims is too great for the manufacturers.   My prediction?  You will see one, maybe two more trials and we will have a global settlement that resolves over 85% of these suits.

Filing a Lawsuit

If you or a loved one has suffered any negative effects as a result of  transvaginal mesh, protect your rights. Call us at 800-553-8082 or talk to us online.  There is no fee or cost for you in pursuing your claim unless you win a recovery.

For more information on Transvaginal Mesh:

 

 

 

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A new study suggests a potential link between spinal surgeries involving Medtronic Infuse and cancer.  This is not only concern.  It is just the latest.  This product, which certainly helping many patients, comes with a great deal of risk.

Growing Concerns with use of Medtronic Infuse

Growing concerns with use of Medtronic Infuse

The Medtronic Infuse Bone Graft is a product that helps patients to create bone.   Before this innovation, bone was harvested from the hip.  The product is approved for fractures of the tibia, degenerative disc disease, and some dental bone grafting procedures.  Medtronic has made billions on it.  Wanting even more money, the pushed doctors to use this product for everything but the common cold.  But sales are falling now that more and more flaws in the product come to light.

TheJournal of Bone & Joint Surgery published the study.  This is a serious and well respected medical journal.  What exactly did the study show?   Patients that were given the Infuse were nearly seven times more likely to be diagnosed with cancer over the following two years.    That is jaw dropping.

Other complications reported to the FDA include:

  • Swelling of the throat, sometimes causing difficulty breathing, swallowing, and death
  • Nerve problems: numbness, tingling, damage
  • Male sterility/infertility
  • Loss of bone
  • Rampant bone growth when used in for neck surgeries.  There is a very high risk of death because of the swelling in the throat and suffocation.

Infuse Lawsuits

The number of Medtronic Infuse lawsuits are growing rapidly, and will continue to grow.  Patients are claiming that the company failed to adequately warn doctors and patients of the risks of the product, and that Infuse was illegally marketed for users not approved by the FDA.

Do I Have a Medtronic Infuse Claim?

If you or a loved one has been implanted with Infuse and has suffered an injury, please call one of our Medtronic Infuse attorneys at 800-553-8082 or click here for a free no obligation consultation.

 

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Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is reportedly considering a  $3 billion dollar settlement of pending DePuy ASR (Articular Surface Replacement) hip implant cases, which could result in an average settlement of $300,000 per case.

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J&J Considers Possible $3 Billion Settlement

After the recall in 2010, DePuy ASR hip replacement lawsuits began to grow exponentially.  Following their first trial in March ending with a verdict of $8.3 million, Johnson & Johnson announced their plan to appeal.  Now, it is rumored that they are considering a global settlement that would resolve up to 11,500 U.S. lawsuits.

The lawsuits allege that the ASR’s defective design caused friction between the metal-on-metal and cup components that shed metallic debris.  The body fights back against these metals causing a reaction called metallosis that compromises the immune system. Inflammatory reactions to the metal can cause groin pain, fatigue, death of tissue in the hip joint, loss of surrounding bone and muscle, and there has even been speculation that it may cause heart and kidney problems as well.

The first federal bellwether trial is scheduled to begin next week, on September 9th.  It is anticipated that evidence may include testimony presented in the March trial that DePuy sold ASR devices despite being aware as early as 2008 that the implants release high levels of metallic ions, especially in women.  With seven more trials scheduled between now and January, it is expected that evidence will also include testimony that J&J considered redesigning the ASR to reduce risks, but ultimately did not feel that the costs were justified.  The outcome of these trials are expected to have great impact on other pending cases, and could be very damaging for J&J, as juries could potentially return seven-figure awards.

If you have not filed a case and have any interest in participating in an eventual settlement, you should act now. Typically, once a settlement has been reached in cases such as this, the settlement will only apply to individuals who have already filed a case.  Individuals who wait until after a settlement has been reached will not be included in the settlement.  Even more critical, the DePuy ASR was recalled on August 23, 2010 and most people received their recall notice between August and December 2010.  With most states having statutes of limitations of two or three years, DePuy could take the position that anyone who files a case after the settlement should receive nothing.

If you believe you may have a potential DePuy hip implant lawsuit, our lawyers are still investigating these claims. Call 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation.

 

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We will learn soon a great deal more about the value of the Actos bladder cancer lawsuits that are pending around the country.  Takeda Pharmaceuticals is in the middle of a wrongful death suit in Baltimore City involving its diabetes drug.  The suit claims that drug maker knew Actos increased the risk of bladder cancer, but downplayed that risk.  Why?  Because it wanted to sell as much of the drug as it could.

In opening statements, plaintiff’s attorney said that Takeda “knew the value of the drug and they knew the risks” but pushed ahead because the drug was making the company billions of dollars.

actosThe Last Actos Case

This spring, a Los Angeles jury had to decide this same issue and found that Takeda was negligent.  It awarded the family $6.5 million.

You would think this would be a huge statement about the value of these Actos bladder cancer cases.  It is.  But, unfortunately, the trial judge in that case took away the jury’s verdict.  Why would he do this after a long jury trial?  The judge believe that  the plaintiff’s expert could not give the opinion that the diabetes drug was a substantial, contributing  factor to the plaintiff getting bladder cancer.   Of course, this decision has been appealed but it might take years for the case to find its way through California’s appellate courts.

Still, this case sent a message to Takeda that was loud and clear: we think you did something wrong and we intend to award a lot of money.  The trial court taking away the verdict was awful for that plaintiff.  Hopefully, that will be fixed by the appellate courts.  But that did not change the jury’s message.  This verdict still increased the value of the Actos cases.

The truth is, Takeda didn’t really need these verdicts to get the message.  The FDA  has found that that diabetes patients on Actos for longer than one year may be at a greater risk for getting bladder cancer, which is an awful disease even as cancers go.   So we can’t be surprised to see juries awarding compensation for millions of dollars.

This Baltimore Actos Case Will Tell Us More

Certainly, this is a big case in the history of this litigation.  If there is any one big verdict, as I suspect, I think Takeda will take off the rose colored glasses and get serious about resolving these suits.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one has been prescribed Actos and has been diagnosed with bladder cancer, contact our Actos injury lawyers at 800.553.8082, or online here.

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Our law firm is reviewing da Vinci robotic surgery lawsuits.  I have been writing critically about this medical device and its manufacturer, Intuitive Systems.

Much of my commentary has been of the, “This is really cool technology that they are misusing and one day this will be really great” variety.  But a new study is making me question even that premise.

The Latest Robotic Surgery Safety Study

safety of robotic surgery

Is Robotic Surgery Safe?

Doctors at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center conducted a study that was published this month in Obstetrics & Gynecology titled Comparison of Robotic and Laparoscopic Hysterectomy for Benign Gynecologic Disease.  This is a major peer reviewed journal.  These journals typically only publish studies with sound methodology.  The study found that using robotic surgery to perform a hysterectomy is not safer than laparoscopic surgery.

Okay, so the risks are basically the same?  That’s probably fair.  The study showed a slightly higher but statistically insignificant difference between robotic and laparoscopic surgery.   Certainly, there are some complications that the study found are more likely with the robot.  For example, the rate of postoperative pneumonia is much higher.  Then again, the need for blood transfusions is higher for hysterectomies performed laparoscopically.  So it is a mixed bag.

Where the differences are more stark is in price.  Robotic surgery costs a whopping $2,5000 more than laparoscopic surgery.   Will these costs come down over time?  You would think so.  But who knows?

This study echoes another study earlier this year published in the Journal of the American Medical Association which found that this surgery was no safer preformed with da Vinci… and was a lot more expensive.

At least one study has indicated that robotic surgery is not as safe.

So what does this all mean?   Does it mean these are bad robots that we should recall?   I can’t go that far.  The early returns suggest that this technology falls somewhere between just as safe and less safe as traditional methods.  Certainly, it is a lot more expensive.  This will probably not be the slogan Intuitive Surgical puts on its bumper stickers.   But that seems to be the reality of it.

da Vinci Litigation Update

One thing that is a little bit unique to these mass tort cases is that there is no class action lawsuit.  Each of these cases is being decided individually around the country.  Intuitive Systems won the last trial.  But that loss was actually a win for the plaintiff: she had already settled a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor.

I think it is pretty clear Intuitive Systems wants to get these cases settled.  There are too many cases pending and I think we have already seen the results: some hospitals are having less zeal for this technology.  I’m not seeing the same push from hospitals bragging about their having the technology.

Some of these da Vinci claims have already been resolved. I think it is reasonable to expect another waive of settlements.

Hiring a Lawyer for Your da Vinci Claim

If you believe that you have been injured during a da Vinci robotic surgery, we can help you. Call us toll-free at 1.800.553.8083 or go online here.  We handle medical device product liability cases and medical malpractice cases nationwide, and we have relationships with experts who can determine what went wrong during your surgery.

Prior Posts on This Subject

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MirenaIUD

Mirena Lawsuits Gearing Up for Trial

With 123 Mirena IUD lawsuits already having been centralized in the federal MDL, and thousands more expected, the parties are preparing to select a small group of cases that will be eligible for early trial dates, beginning as soon as late 2015.

Does 2015 sound like forever from now?  It does.  But that is the way mass torts in the MDL proceed.  There is a lot of discovery we need to do to find out:

  1. What Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals knew about the risks associated with IUDs in general and, specifically, with Mirena;
  2. Why didn’t the company do a better job of communicating the risks of uterine perforation and migration?;
  3. What Bayer tried to do to make its IUD as safe as possible;
  4. Were profits the motive to avoid making the warning more clear.

Digging through all of this is going to take some time.  Doing this correctly will, I believe, really increase the ultimate settlement value of these cases.  So it is worth the work.

In April of this year, all Mirena cases filed in the federal court system were transferred for coordinated proceedings before Judge Cathy Seibel.  In other words, for the purposes of discovery, this is a class action lawsuit.  This month, Judge Seibel outlined the discovery process for the litigation that included a time-table for the selection of a small group of cases that will go through case-specific discovery in preparation for early trial dates, known as bellwether trials.  A bellwether case is basically a test case, allowing the parties to see what a jury will do with a garden-variety claim so they can decide where they stand.  Bellwether cases are often precursors for settlement talks.

The Problem with Mirena

Mirena, a small, flexible T-shaped IUD, releases a hormone called Levonorgestrel, a hormone that effectively prevents pregnancy.  Mirena is placed in a woman’s uterus, and is inserted by a doctor in an outpatient office visit.  The problem with Mirena is that there are a lot of problems.  Bayer admits that it doesn’t exactly know how it works, which should be the first sign of concern.

The theory is that the device releases Levonorgesterel to be distributed in tiny proportions directly to the lining of the uterus.  It may thicken cervical mucus to prevent movement of sperm; and it may thin the lining of the uterus. The big problem with Mirena, as countless women have discovered, is that the small “flexible” device can puncture the uterus, which could lead to bleeding, inflammation and infection.  It can also shift and migrate to a part of the woman’s body outside of the uterus.

The IUD may need to be surgically removed and, in serious cases, the uterus could be at risk and a hysterectomy may be required. Some women experience Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).  Long-term consequences include infertility, ectopic pregnancy, permanent pelvic pain, and abscesses.

Why a Warning Was Particularly Important in This Case

It is obviously important for the maker of a drug or medical device to warn doctors and consumers about the risk associated with that product.  When it comes to birth control, a warning matters even more because women have so many choices.  Women have basically four choices when it comes to this class of birth control:

  1. Mirena
  2. Implanon: This device is a plastic implant rod containing progestogen etonogestrel which is surgically inserted under the skin of the upper arm
  3. Depo-Provera:  injectable progestogen that last up to three months.
  4. ParaGard Intrauterine Copper IUD: similar to Mirena but does not release steroidal hormones.
MirenaIUDpain

Mirena IUDs Have Caused Heartache for Many Women

They also have a choice of IUDs.   One option is the ParaGard Intrauterine Copper IUD which may of been a better choice for some women.   But both come with risks.   The ParaGuard cu-IUD, which costs about $500, even before screening and the cost of insertion, can result in uterine perforation and other malpositioning that can cause damage to the woman’s surrounding organs.

Mirena IUD, unlike ParaGard, contains levonorgestrel which are steroidal hormones.  With Mirena, you have the risk of uterine perforation and also potentially the risk of ovarian cysts, irregular bleeding, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and cramps.

There is another troubling risk with Mirena worth considering too.  Give Bayer credit for this: women rarely get pregnant while using this form of birth control.  But it does happen.  If a woman does conceive, there is the risk of a lost fetus and permanent infertility.  These are real risks.

The others come with their own risk.   Depo-Provera use has been shown to result in a doubled risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV and a loss of bone mineral density.  Implanon has higher risk for ectopic pregnancy and pulmonary emboli and strokes that can be fatal.  The risks with Implanon may be even even higher for smokers.

So none of these choices are perfect.  But women do have choices and they deserve information to make the right choice for them.

Bayer Faces More Mirena IUD Lawsuits

A number of Mirena IUD lawsuits have also been filed in the New Jersey state court, and have also been centralized before one judge for coordinated proceedings.  There are currently almost 200 cases, again with many more expected.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one has been injured by a Mirena IUD, contact us at 1.800.553.8082 or online here. We can tell you about the current state of Mirena settlements and lawsuits, and we can help you to determine if a lawsuit is right for you.

  • Mirena IUD Lawsuit Update
  • An Overview of These Claims: What You Can Do For Yourself