Articles Posted in Featured Lawsuits

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Problems on the increase

According to the FDA, problems involving the da Vinci Surgical System are increasing prompting new recommendations for surgeons and calling for more robot surgery training.  The problems continue to involve serious injury such as burns, tears, bowl perforations and even death.

An independent investment analysis firm issued a report on October 3rd regarding the increased da Vinci complaints, warning investors about the impact these incidents may have on the stock price for Intuitive Surgical, manufacturer of the da Vinci robot.  The report involved figures such as the 2,332 da Vinci complaints received in the first eight months of 2013 as compared with the 4,603 complaints received over the past twelve years from 2000 through 2012.  Here is what is even more disconcerting: another study suggests that these problems are often unreported.  Who knows that the real data would show?
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C.R. Bard has been in the transvaginal mesh cases from the very beginning.  I really do believe they are going to try to put together a global settlement that will resolve more than just the cases with pending trial dates.  But in the meantime, Bard is going to do what it has done from the beginning of this litigation: wage war.  But facts are stubborn things which brings us back to the same theme: these cases are going to settle.

meshBard is not only fighting the new cases, it is fighting the battles it has already lost.  The most recent battle was a verdict against the company for over $1.4 million.

The case was a good test case although it was a case that was actually pretty favorable to the defendant because the injuries were not as serious as they are in some other cases.  It is the classic design defect/failure to  warn claims against Bard’s Avaulta Plus, a synthetic mesh product designed  to treat pelvic organ prolapse.  The woman’s lawsuit claimed that that the arms contained in the mesh device, the small pore size used in the mesh, and the use of polypropylene to make the device were design defects.  On their failure to warn claim, plaintiff argued that Bard inadequately warned about the risk and severity of the complications Plaintiff eventually experienced.  Plaintiff also argued the obvious: Bard did not adequately warn of the risks.  (Does anyone really disagree with this premise?  I don’t know how they argue that one.)

Bard sought a new trial after the verdict arguing the case never should have gone to the jury.  Comically, defense counsel actually conceded that many of these issues appropriately went to the jury. But they did a takesey-backsie (is that how you spell it?) on it arguing that there was not enough design defect evidence to go to the jury.

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lipitorThe history of the Lipitor diabetes cases has followed the usual mass tort path:

  1. Plaintiffs seek “class action” type consolidation
  2. Defendant opposes it even though it would actually save them litigation costs
  3. The court agrees with the Defendant because there are not enough lawsuits to justify pulling the claims together
  4. More and more cases are filed
  5. Plaintiffs refile their motion citing all of the new cases
  6. The court agrees with plaintiffs and creates Multidistrict Litigation (a MDL)

Right now we are at Stage 5 in the process in the atorvastatin calcium (known as Lipitor) cases.
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Transvaginal mesh lawsuits pending around the country were sparked when the FDA issued a Public Health Alert in October, 2008 revealing that it had received 1,000 reports of serious injuries associated with vaginal mesh products over a three year period. In July 2011, the FDA warned that complaints associated with transvaginal prolapse repair had grown five-fold since the 2008 alert.  It stated that it no longer considered these types of injuries to be rare.   This was a big deal because that is what women were sold: complications would be very unlikely. According to the FDA and what we have seen with the inquiries that have come to our law firm, the most common vaginal mesh complications included chronic infections, organ damage, and mesh erosion and shrinkage. Women have filed claims in massive numbers since then.

Every major manufacturer has been sued. AMSAmerican Medical Systems (AMS), based in Minnesota, is a major manufacturer of transvaginal mesh medical devices, support systems designed to correct pelvic organ prolapse, (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI).  Johnson & Johnson is the global leader in prolapse mesh, followed by American Medical Systems, Boston Scientific, and Bard.  Currently, of the six different vaginal mesh multidistrict litigations (MDLs) centralized before U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin in the Southern District of West Virginia, the largest MDL is the American Medical System (AMS) mesh lawsuits.  The products were  manufactured by the subsidiary of Endo Health Solutions, Inc.  As of September 2013, there were 9,930 cases filed against AMS.

Dangerous Side Effects of Transvaginal Mesh Patches Include

  • Erosion of the vaginal epithelium
  • Bladder or bowel perforation
  • Serious infection
  • Return of pelvic organ prolapse
  • Urinary incontinence

There has been some speculation that AMS may attempt to settle cases before the first trial dates begin.  Otherwise, according to a pretrial order issued in the beginning of October, it will be determined in December what four cases will be eligible for the first bellwether trials, to be heard in April and May of 2014. It is time to either settle these AMS cases or start hitting them with big verdicts that will make them settle on very different terms than AMS could get now.

Filing a Lawsuit

If you or a loved one has suffered any negative effects as a result of  an AMS transvaginal mesh, or any of the other manufacturers, 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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In a status update two months ago, I told you that settlements in the NuvaRing cases may be imminent and I gave you my thoughts on the potential settlement value of these claims.   Both parties spending less energy on getting these lawsuit ready for trial and instead focusing on whether these actions can be settled in massive number.   So we can’t be surprised by the latest next that there has been yet  another postponement for the first NuvaRing bellwether trial.  Originally scheduled to be tried earlier this year, the MDL trial date has been postponed several times by the judge assigned to the class action proceedings.

What is NuvaRing and what is the problem?

The Judge wants an accurate accounting of all claims

The Judge wants an accurate accounting of claims

NuvaRing, a flexible plastic ring that is inserted once a month by women, not their doctor.  Once inserted, the ring gives off a continuous dose of hormones designed to prevent pregnancy.  No appointment necessary, nice and convenient, right?  Well, for some, convenience can come with a price.  While all hormone-based birth control carry risks of blood clots, medical studies indicate that NuvaRing users are more likely to experience dangerous and can cause the the woman’s blood hardens from a liquid to a solid.  Specific problems include deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), stroke, heart attack, and death. Compared to some types of birth control, NuvaRing doubles these risks—or more.  The FDA examined and confirmed the problem in 2011; however, Merck & Co., manufacture of NuvaRing, failed to warn users of the increased risks in any of their advertisements. Since then, hundreds and hundreds of former users have filed NuvaRing lawsuits.

Where the cases are going

These case have multiplied like rabbits.   It began with a scattering of cases, In May 2012, just under 900 cases were filed in the federal court system.  Now, with over 1,400 cases brought in the U.S. District Courts, these cases have become part of a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL).  These cases are brought together as part of coordinated proceedings for the purpose of common discovery and settlement talks.  As part of the proceedings, a small group of cases go through case-specific discovery in preparation for early trial dates, known as bellwether trials.  I’d love to see a bellwether case go to trial because I think plaintiffs’ would win it.  A bellwether case is basically a test case, allowing the parties to see what a jury will do with average claim to help everyone figure out what the values of the case really are.  But I think the defendant thinks the same way and they seem to be going out of their way to avoid a trial before these cases start to settle.

Originally scheduled for January 27, 2014, the first bellwether case scheduled for trial has been pushed back to April 7, 2014, just the most recent of several postponements.  The judge has also put a hold on all discovery, motions, and rulings in any of the federal NuvaRing cases filed until the end of this year.  The judge is looking for a more accurate “census” of the cases that are being pursued, whether they are pending in federal court, state court, or have yet to be filed.  This desire for a “more accurate census” seems to jive with what I have been saying:  a global resolution to settle the NuvaRing cases may get done in 2013.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one has been injured by a NuvaRing you need to talk to someone quickly because your rights may be expiring very quickly.  Contact us at 1.800.553.8082 or online here.    We can tell you the latest 411 on the these claims and help you figure out if you should bring a suit.

 

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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

NoteGreat 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.

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