Articles Posted in Featured Lawsuits

knee-replacement-296x300There  1,300 Zimmer NexGen knee product liability lawsuits are pending throughout the country.  Countless more victims are waiting on the sidelines (maybe to soon lose their rights because of the statute of limitations).   The progress on these cases in recent months can best be summarized by “well, they are coming along.”  Now, at least, there is a more concrete plan to move this litigation forward.

On March 24th, Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer, the judge overseeing all of the consolidated federal cases pending in the U.S. District Courts, identified six cases that will be part of the “initial tranche” of Zimmer NexGen bellwether trials. A bellwether trial are test cases that allow the parties to see what a jury will do with a claim that is typical of the class.  Why?  So the parties can get a better idea of just what the value of the cases might be.   These are called bellwether cases, often precursors for settlement talks, are expected to begin in 2015.

First introduced in 1995, NexGen Complete Knee Solution System was one of Zimmer’s most successful knee products.  In 2001, Zimmer attempted to capitalize on the success of this product line by releasing a modified version of the original design, the NexGen Flex line of products, designed to achieve 155 degrees of flexion.  Most components were approved without extensive trials or FDA investigation into their safety through the 510K fast-track approval program.  This FDA program allows medical devices to enter the market without requiring manufacturers to conduct clinical studies. Instead, the manufacturer must only demonstrate the device is substantially equivalent to other similar products already on the market. So the actual product that goes into a patient’s knee is not tested like these medical devices should be tested.

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lipitorThe lawyers involved in the federal Lipitor litigation are scheduled to meet this week, in order to discuss the structure and organization of the recently formed Lipitor MDL,.  This is a standard part of any mass tort cases.  The judge is going to work with the parties to figure out how these lawsuits should best proceed as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Getting to this point took some doing.   At first, a panel of federal judges previously denied plaintiffs’ lawyers first attempt to consolidate all of the Lipitor diabetes cases into a class action.  Thankfully and correctly, the judges changed their mind last month.  What flipped them?  One simple thing: these cases are being filed now in massive numbers.

This MDL centralizes the management of the federal Lipitor cases filed by women – just women – who allege the drug maker failed to adequately warn about the risk of diabetes from Lipitor side effects.  Is this a class action suit?  Yes and no.  The MDL make the cases a “class action for a while.”  The parties conduct pre-trial discovery on issues that are central to all of the cases.  After effort to reach a settlement – and perhaps the trial of a few cases – the cases would head back to their home jurisdictions.   The hope, for plaintiffs and for Pfizer I suspect, is that these cases are settled long before we get to the point where these cases are remanded to their home jurisdictions.  

Today, more than 250 lawsuits have been transferred to the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina.  I think there will be several thousands of cases filed before this is over.  Continue reading

Cases gear up for Summer 2015 trials

Cases gear up for Summer 2015 trials

With more than 600 Stryker Rejuvenate hip cases centralized as part of an MDL in the federal court system [more on the MDL process], U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank has indicated that a small group of cases will be ready for trial in Summer of 2015.

This small group of cases, known as “bellwether” cases, are scheduled for early trials designed to get some preliminary data on how juries react to the cases, so that the parties can make informed decisions on settlement.  This is crucial towards moving the litigation forward and ultimately towards resolution.  Cases don’t settle because the parties disagree on the value of the claims.

Trying a few cases helps everyone take an honest look at the merits and the value of the cases.  Practically, many medical device companies have in-house counsel that tries to brainwash the real people making the decisions that plaintiffs’ claims can be defended.  Then you have the defense lawyers who are making plenty of money and have every interest in seeing the cases go on.   I think if the Stryker higher ups see a few verdicts, they are going to stop listening to their in-house counsel and their outside lawyers because the juries will be speaking loud and clear.

So the only really bad news for plaintiffs is that the trials don’t begin until 2015.  There is no arguing with the fact that justice is painfully slow in these cases.

In addition to those cases filed in federal court, there are at least 873 cases pending in New Jersey state court, with additional claims filed in Florida state court.  In New Jersey, all of the Stryker hip lawsuits have been centralized before one Superior Court judge as part of a Multi-County Litigation (MCL).  MCLs consolidate the cases for discovery purposes, as there are similarities between the underlying cases such as witnesses and evidence that will be common to all of these Stryker hip lawsuits. 

Last year, a mediation process was established in an attempt to see if the Stryker Rejuvenate cases could be settled.  At least eight of the nine cases that have gone to mediation have agreed to settle. Continue reading

shutterstock_140317615In an old post, I told you that we  are seeing more and more legal claims alleging Risperdal and Invega are causing young men to grow breasts.  The findings of a recent study appear to confirm just that.  Findings were presented at the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry (AAGP) meeting this month that indicate that males using Risperdal have a significantly higher risk of developing unnatural breast growth, known as gynecomastia, as compared to those who have not taken the drug.

Dr. Mahyar, a pharmacoepidemiologist at the University of British Columbia presented the recent findings, and stated that, “The strength of this study was its large sample size that allowed us to quantify this rare adverse event.”  He concluded that doctors may want to prescribe Seroquel or Zyprexa to male patients instead of Risperdal or Invega.

Risperdal is an atypical antipsychotic medication that was originally introduced for adults with schizophrenia.  But, Risperdal has been widely used by children for bi-polar disorders, autism, irritability, aggression, and behavior disorders.  Risperdal increases the level of prolactin in young men who use the drug.  Prolactin is a hormone that stimulates breast growth.  Researchers found a 69% increased risk of gynecomastia among users of Risperdal and Invega.  When compared to individuals who used other atypical antipsychotics that are part of the same class, the risk was still 41% higher than Seroquel users, and 40% higher than Zyprexa users.

In addition to the obvious physical damages, plaintiffs have alleged the psychological effects of Risperdal breast growth can have a devastating impact on the boys’ overall quality of life.  Many plaintiffs have required breast removal surgery, with some that have developed breasts measuring as large as a 38D cup size.

This is not the first time that these medications have been under fire, and linked to potential lawsuits.  A number of studies have found that children who take antipsychotic and/or second-generation antipsychotic drugs (Seroquel, Risperdal, Zyprexa, Abilify) have an increased risk of developing type II diabetes. Continue reading

Testosterone

Public Citizen calls for Black Box Warning

Do the health related risks – specifically the cardiac risks – of testosterone replacement therapy necessitate a “black box” warning?  Consumer rights advocacy group Public Citizen thinks so.   This is a big deal because Public Citizen has been out in front on so many bad medicines over the last 30 years long before the FDA figured it out.

Black box warning, the strongest warning that the FDA requires, signifying that medical studies indicate that a drug carries a significant risk of serious or even life-threatening adverse-reactions.   It might was well be the FDA shouting on a box.   This underscores that appreciation for the risk of testosterone is increasing at lightening speed.

It was just last month that the FDA announced that it is 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.  Pretty severe risks considering many men taking the medication aren’t even candidates for testosterone and cannot benefit from the drug.

The Problem

Low testosterone treatments may double the risk of heart attack for young men with heart disease as well as for men 65 years of age and older, even those who have had no heart problems.  That’s the problem in a nutshell.    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. Continue reading

gelYesterday, I mentioned how fast the testosterone replacement heart attack litigation is progressing.  Of course, to have litigation you need lawsuits.  Here they come.  A lawsuit has been filed against AbbVie, makers of AndroGel, a testosterone gel that is used to treat conditions in men that result from a lack of natural testosterone.  This won’t be the last claim filed against AbbVie.   They are a big player and they are going to have a target on their back.

Everyone has known there side effects of this medication, such as  nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, and change in sexual desire. Heart attacks and other serious cardiac events are a different animal.  

 A North Carolina man has filed a product liability failure to warn lawsuit claiming that the gel caused him to suffer a pulmonary embolism.  Recent studies have found that testosterone therapy increases the 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.  According to the Plaintiff, he suffered blood clots in his lungs and legs after receiving a prescription for the testosterone gel.

testosteroneTestosterone therapy lawsuits are quickly gaining steam.  These cases seemed like a plaintiffs’ lawyers reach just a few months ago.  Now the science on these cases is coming together faster than anyone could have imagined.

Weeks ago, the FDA announced that it is investigating potential testosterone therapy risks.  This is a big deal.  The FDA does not stick its nose into an approved product unless it is pretty concerned.

Testosterone is approved for the treatment of hypogonadism due to known diseases of the testes, pituitary and hypothalamus. Although the use of testosterone therapy is increasing, the FDA indicated that the products were never approved for any use other than to treat men who have medical conditions resulting in lower testosterone than normal.

TestosteroneTestosterone replacement drugs are ubiquitous.  It is hard to sit through an afternoon of TV without hearing a commercial for a drug that helps men fight “Low T” or “Low Testosterone.”   We are seeing even more commercials now.  These new commercials are from lawyers talking about testosterone replacement lawsuits.  Probably not the best way to find a lawyer.  Call 800-5538082 for a free consultation or reach out to us confidentially online.

The Passion for Testosterone

Getting older, I can testify, is not fun.   We are easy prey to the lure of testosterone supplements.   These drugs promise to inject, if you will, a sense of youthful vigor back into both the physicality and sexuality of men.  It is, as the commercials say, for energy and libido, among other things. 

These advertisements, which market familiar brands such as AndroGel, Androderm Testim and Axiron, have been extremely effective.  Accordingly, the use of these drugs has exploded in the last few years, with nearly $2 billion in sales in 2012 alone.  In fact, over 5.3 million prescriptions were written for these drugs in 2011.  At present, nearly 4% of men over 60 are taking a testosterone booster.  Men cite the fact that these drugs are effective in treating bone density issues and muscle mass deficiency, as well as with sexual performance  But are they aware that these drugs may cause heart attacks? Continue reading

A new process is now in place for the filing of new Stryker Rejuvenate hip lawsuits.  The new procedure will streamline the process of filing a lawsuit utilizing a Master gavel-300x199Complaint and Short Form Complaint to standardize the process of filing additional lawsuits directly into the current federal MDL.

What does this mean to victims?  Nothing.  This is all logistical stuff for the lawyers to worry about.  But some people like to stay more informed than others about these cases.  If you are one of those “want to be informed” people, this post is for you.

The Master Complaint

The Master Complaint addresses all of the common allegations already raised in the Stryker Rejuvenate hip lawsuits and ABG II hip failures.   You might ask, “What is a Master Complaint?”  A complaint is legal document in which you file a lawsuit.  In mass tort cases like this one, there are some allegations that are common to all of the plaintiffs bring clams against the manufacturer.    Obviously, an individual lawsuit includes other allegations: who they are, the product, and other case specific information. Continue reading

humirajudgeopinionFiling for St. Jude Riata defibrillator lead lawsuits is alive after a critical ruling by U.S. District Court Judge James V. Selna.

The background of this motion was ominous for plaintiffs.  The court had previously kept their claims alive by a shoestring and struck many of the key “failure to warn” claims that were made in the lawsuits.   Plaintiffs received an opportunity to cure the defects in the Complaint which they, thankfully, did.

Judge Selna denied a motion to dismiss that was filed in multiple product liability lawsuits filed on behalf of individuals who experienced problems from the leads. These suits allege the manufacturer improperly designed and sold a defective product. Although St. Jude attorneys maintained that the product was FDA approved, Judge Selna determined the allegations were based on violation of FDA regulations.

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