Articles Posted in Damages

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Cook Medical is going to soon find themselves in court according to recent court developments. This news comes in the light of thousands of lawsuits that have been filed against Cook Medical and their IVC filters. The first bellwether trial is now on the horizon, after Cook Medical, Inc. was unsuccessful in their motion for summary judgment earlier this month.

According to the Southern District of Indiana, the jury selection process for the first trial will begin on October 23, 2017. Overall, a total of three bellwether trial are slated to take place, which will allow those negatively affected and their representation a range of settlement values regarding IVC filter lawsuits.

The case that has been selected for first bellwether trial is Hill v. Cook Medical, Inc., et al. This case involves Elizabeth Hill, a Florida resident. She was implanted with a Cook Celect IVC filter prior to her scheduled back surgery. Hill has alleged that she was negatively affected by her Cook Medical IVC filter and subsequently required multiple medical corrective procedures. Her complaint has alleged that Cook Medical had a “duty to act reasonably to design, develop, manufacture, market and sell a product that did not present a risk of harm or injury.”

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Recently, in the Northern District of Texas, the fourth bellwether trial focused on allegedly defective metal on metal hip replacement devices began. This bellwether trial is concentrated on the DePuy Orthopedics’ Pinnacle Hip Replacement System. The bellwether trial has consolidated six hip replacement lawsuits filed by plaintiffs and their family members who allege that they suffered unwanted complications or serious negative side effects due to the premature failure of their DePuy Pinnacle Hip Replacement System device.

This bellwether trial also focuses on the allegations that Johnson & Johnson, and its subsidiary company DePuy, brought their metal-on-metal hip replacement devices to market albeit knowing the device was or may have been manufactured with defects. Among the alleged defects was the low-level quality equipment used to make the devices. Due to the material used in the production of the devices, many patients suffered the negative side effects, including having toxic metal debris to be allowed into their bloodstream or tissue surrounding their joints.

Moreover, through examination of their marketing process, emails and commissioned studies counsel for the plaintiffs has argued it may be shown that Johnson & Johnson, and DePuy took part in deceptive behavior. That highlighted conduct was allegedly aimed toward deceptively encouraging the use of their metal on metal hip replacement devices in hip implant surgeries.

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On September 12th, Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Thomas Gehret dismissed the criminal charges brought against Brian Bostian in regards to the 2015 Philadelphia train derailment. Bostian, 34, was the engineer of the Philadelphia train that derailed and as a result the Amtrak train killed eight individuals while also injuring more than 200.

In 2015, the derailment took place just outside of Philadelphia. Bostian was the engineer, on the date of the accident, when the train approached a curve with a 50-mph speed limit. The train was traveling over double the speed limit, at 105-mph, at the time of the derailment. As a result, Bostian was charged with eight counts of involuntary manslaughter, one count of causing or risking a catastrophe, and 238 counts of reckless endangerment.

Ultimately, Judge Gehret determined that there was not enough evidence to proceed to a criminal trial. According to the court reports, Judge Gehret said that based on the evidence, “I think it’s more likely than not this was an accident and not criminal.”

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Last week, the subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, Ethicon was order to pay Ella Ebaugh an amount that totaled $57.1 million of damages due to receiving defective pelvic mesh implants. As a result of the defective implants Ebaugh claimed that she was in constant pain and left incontinent.

Ella Ebaugh, a 51-year-old resident of York County, Pennsylvania, brought the suit against Johnson & Johnson. She was initially implanted with two Ethicon devices, the TVT and TVT-Secur, in 2007 in order to treat her stress urinary incontience. Both Ethicon devices eroded ultimately traveling to her urethra. Subsequently, Ebaugh had to endure three agonizing corrective surgeries in order to remove the damaged devices. According the lawsuit, her injuries included vast scarring to her urethra, intrinsic sphincter deficiency, chronic urinary tract infections, chronic pelvic pain and dyspareunia, chronic pain during sex. Ebaugh even stated that somedays she can’t even get out of bed.

Ebaugh’s counsel based their argument around the claim that Johnson & Johnson manipulated information that was available to their company and withheld that information from medical professionals and consumers. Ultimately, this decision is the fifth successful suit in Philadelphia related to these devices. The breakdown of Ebaugh’s award is: $7.1 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages.

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Railroad workers are constantly in hazardous places and situation when dealing with various types of high powered machinery on a daily basis. These dangers were found to be true earlier this summer when two young railroad workers, 20 and 25 years old respectively, were fatally struck by a train while they were inspecting their own freight train.

To combat the dangerous daily situations that railroad workers must face there have been established safety procedures in place. Although this month CSX CEO Hunter Harrison has taken away some of these safety procedures, leading to an increase in the number of risky situations that current railroad workers may now find themselves in. These changes in safety policies are now instituted company-wide in efforts to speed up productivity, but may leave railroad workers vulnerable to injury.

One of the safety procedure to be thrown out is the longstanding “Three Step Protections.” The CSX online railroad dictionary defines this as, “Additional protection that is provided prior to employees fouling equipment. This procedure will require the locomotive engineer to apply the train brakes, place the reverser in neutral position, and open generator field switch.” Early reactions to this abrupt change in policy explain that without the “Three Step Protections” in place the hazard of more serious or life-threatening injuries are now present.

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Earlier this month, Johnson & Johnson found itself in the courtroom again due to another female’s claim that after using Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products for feminine hygiene purposes, over a significant period of time, she developed ovarian cancer. This marks the fifth case against talc-based Johnson & Johnson products to be heard, albeit the first case to be heard in California.

Eva Echeverria, a 62-year-old California resident, brought this claim against Johnson & Johnson. The claim, similar to recent lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, alleged that the company failed to warn consumers of their talc-based product’s risks and encouraged women to engage in the use of their talc-based products; even though they were aware of multiple years’ worth of scientific studies that linked ovarian cancer deaths and diagnoses to the genital use of talc-based product such as the ones produced by Johnson & Johnson.

Last week, a Los Angeles Superior Court jury’s verdict ultimately found in favor of Echeverria. This came after a four-week trial and two-day’s worth of deliberation. As a result, Echeverria was awarded the largest verdict to date against Johnson & Johnson, $417 million. This was due to their failure to adequately warn consumers of the risks and unwanted negative side effects to be linked to talc-based product use. The breakdown of the verdict is as follows: $347 million in punitive damages and $70 million in compensatory damages.

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On August 7, Endo International Plc agreed to a settlement amount of an additional $775 million that will allow the company to settle the remaining 22,000 mesh suits brought against them. This additional settlement agreement has now brought the settlement figure to a staggering $2.6 billion. The lawsuits brought against the company alleged that the company’s vaginal-mesh implants left some women incontinent and in extreme pain due the mesh implants eroding.

The August settlement agreement comes only a year after Endo International was slammed with over thousands of complaints due the devices produced by the company. As a result, the company chose to close and shut down one of the units that was based on producing mesh implants. Paul Campanelli, Endo’s CEO and president issued a statement last week in which he called this settlement an “important milestone” for the company. He also made a point to express that this settlement also allowed the company to “resolve virtually all known U.S. mesh product liability claims” against the company.

On the other hand, other companies that are producers of mesh devices, such as Boston Scientific Corporation and Johnson & Johnson, are still facing thousands of complaints from women who had one of their mesh products inserted/implanted and as a result suffered painful or unwanted negative side effects. Overall, mesh based lawsuits are showing to be one of the main mass tort claims in history with the total number of transvaginal mesh lawsuits currently rising to over 100,000 filed complaints.

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3M’s Bair Hugger surgical blanket is at the center of nearly 2,000 lawsuits due to allegations of the device causing unwanted side effects, including serious infections in patients that used the device. A set of eight bellwether trials have been selected, from the proposed trial pool which consisted of 16 potential lawsuits, according to the May 2017 pretrial order. The first Bair Hugger trial is set to begin in February 2018.

The 3M Bair Hugger is a device that may be placed over an individual after an orthopedic implant or replacement surgery in order to warm their body temperature in order to assist in speeding the recovery process. Ultimately, the surrounding area’s warm air is facilitated through a hose into the blanket and then onto the patient, this is known as “forced air warming.” Almost 80% of the leading hospitals across the United States use the Bair Hugger surgical blanket to assist in the prevention of patient’s hyperthermia. There are 25 different designs, shapes and sizes in order to meet the individual patient’s body and type of surgery. These blankets are also known as one-use blankets because they are disposed of after being used in the patient’s overall procedure.

Individuals have brought lawsuits against the 3M, and its subsidiary Arizant Healthcare, due to the negative side effects that are allegedly caused by the device’s defective design. Many have made claims that the device’s design allows for contaminated air from the surround area, such as the operating room floor, to travel towards the sterile area that the patient just received surgery. If these contaminants or bacteria do reach the sterile surgical site the risk for infection, whether it in the form of sepsis (blood infection), deep joint infection, septic hip or knee or MRSA, is significantly increased for patients. Plaintiffs have also seen unwanted or negative side effects including, but not limited to:

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In two separate federal litigations, the number of lawsuits filed against C.R. Bard and Cook Medical has reached nearly 4,000. According to the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation May report, Cook Medical’s Gunther Tulip and Celect IVC filter blood clot filters are at the center of 1,918 current product liability claims. While C.R. Bard is the named defendant in 1,851 claims due to alleged complications and negative side effects involving their IVC filters, including Recovery, G2, Meridian and Denali.

IVC filters are used to intercept blood clots before they are able to reach an individual’s heart or lungs. The filter is implanted into the inferior vena cava, the body’s largest blood vessel. The filter is most commonly used to prevent a blood clot in the lung, known as pulmonary embolism.

The FDA issued an alert in 2014 to the public that explained the risk of injury outweighed the potential benefits of having the IVC filter implanted and that the devices should be removed as soon as the risk of pulmonary embolism is no longer at issue. The device is meant to be retrievable, but if it migrates into the vein it may become impossible or extremely painful and difficult to remove. Other complications related to the device include the device: breaking; moving or migrating of the filter or pieces of the filter into the lungs or heart; tilting within the inferior vena cava after being implanted; perforation of the inferior vena cava vein.

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In the first bellwether product liability trial regarding the blood thinner Xarelto a New Orleans jury has ruled in favor of Johnson & Johnson and Bayer. Although this is not a favorable decision for the plaintiff, those bringing future lawsuits should not panic.

The lawsuit was brought by Louisiana resident Joseph Boudreaux. Boudreaux brought the suit against Johnson & Johnson and Bayer, the joint developers of Xarelto, after the drug allegedly caused him internal bleeding that required a lengthy hospital stay in the intensive care unit, multiple heart procedures as well as many blood transfusions. This uncontrollable internal bleeding occurred only one month after Boudreaux began taking Xarelto.

Currently, the total number of Xarelto based lawsuits is over 16,000 and growing. Xarelto is an anticoagulant that is commonly used to treat blood clots. The anticoagulant is Bayer’s top selling drug and is Johnson & Johnson’s third highest selling drug. The lawsuits are being or have been filed by patients that used Xarelto and experienced negative side effect, most commonly internal bleeding. Many of the lawsuits are based on the claim that Johnson & Johnson and Bayer did not adequately warn individuals of the possible risks linked to Xarelto, thus claiming that they were misled.