Articles Posted in Product Liability

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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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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.

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A woman who suffered from complications regarding her Ethicon’s Prolift transvaginal mesh has been awarded $2.1 million in damages. A Pennsylvania jury awarded her more than $2 million after it had been discovered that the mesh had deteriorated while in her body resulting in unwanted negative side effects.

In total, this was the fourth consecutive decision in the Pennsylvania court system regarding transvaginal mesh rendered against Johnson & Johnson, and its Ethicon division. Overall, thousands of women have filed suit or are in the process of filing suit against Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon because of complications, or the negative side effects in various forms, resulting from their transvaginal mesh procedure, due to the type of mesh used in those procedures.

The woman involved in the most recent litigation underwent a mesh procedure in 2006. During this procedure, Prolift mesh was implanted in order to assist in treating her pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. Although, according to the complaint, due to the the type of mesh that was used throughout the procedure she sustained serious permanent and complications. These severe complications included pelvic pain, incontinence, urinary tract infections as well as excruciating pain during sexual intercourse.

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Louis Slemp, of Virginia, was successful in her lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson earlier this month. The 62-year-old Slemp brought the lawsuit due to her use of Johnson & Johnson baby powder and its connection to her cancer. Ultimately, the St. Louis jury in this recent talcum powder lawsuit awarded Slemp a record-setting amount of over $110M. The awarded payout breaks down as $5.4M in compensation and an additional $105 in punitive damages.

Presently, this is the largest amount that Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay out in the overall barrage of talcum based products lawsuits being filed against the pharmaceutical conglomerate. The lawsuits are based on the premise that Johnson & Johnson did not adequately warn consumers and users that their talcum containing products had a link to the causation of cancer.

Louis Slemp stated in her claim that she used the talcum containing products produced by Johnson & Johnson for over 40 years. In 2012, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Since 2012, Slemp’s cancer has spread to her liver. Similar to Slemp, thousands of individuals have brought suit against Johnson & Johnson due to their talcum based products and overall connection to cancer after years of repeated use.

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In today’s day and age there are different corrective procedures that an individual suffering from the unbearable or unwanted pain of a hernia can undertake. One of the more common procedures is to undergo hernia repair mesh surgery. When a hernia repair mesh surgery is undergone, the medical professional must choose the type of mesh that is going to be used during the procedure.

One of the mesh materials that may be used by the medical professional is the Atrium C-Qur Mesh. Atrium C-Qur Mesh is known for combining Atrium’s polypropylene mesh and an Omega 3 gel coating. Although, polypropylene may cause damage to the surface of any organ that it is contact with. Recently, the C-Qur mesh material has been under the spotlight and at the helm of injured individuals’ lawsuits, after undergoing surgery that used this type of C-Qur mesh material, against Atrium.

One of the motivations behind the lawsuits is focused of the belief that the FDA should issue a recall on the C-Qur mesh due the frequent reports of patient’s negative side effects linked with Atrium C-Qur Mesh. Atrium has recalled the C-Qur’s packaging, but has not recalled the hernia mesh itself. Many of the individuals that are pursuing lawsuits also allege that Atrium knew or should have known about the potential negative side effects of internal injuries to the patients, but chose to withhold that information from the public as well as those throughout the medical field.

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A hernia exists when there is a hole or an overall weak area in the muscular wall that typically maintains organs located in the abdominal region in their place. In many instances, individuals will produce a noticeable bulge as a result of the push through the hole or overall weak area. For some individuals, their hernia may be painless, for others it may cause serious pain or overall discomfort and as a result must take the necessary actions to help alleviate their ultimate suffering.

Typically, an individual will have a hernia located in upper stomach, groin, belly button, high in the thigh or near a past surgical scar/incision. Those diagnosed with a hernia frequently have pain in the area, which can be found in the form of pressure or heaviness on the affected area or a burning or aching responsiveness at the affected area.

The most common leading causes of a hernia include, but are not limited to: