Tennessee Injury Lawyer Blog

Our firm is currently reviewing Zofran Birth Injury Cases. Zofran is an anti-nausea drug that was originally developed to help chemotherapy patients combat nausea. However, the drug has also often been prescribed to help with morning sickness during pregnancy. Unfortunately, the drug was never approved for this type of use and multiple lawsuits have been filed alleging that unborn children exposed to Zofran during pregnancy have an increased risk of heart defects, cleft palate, cleft lip and other congenital injuries. The suits also state that the manufacture of the drug failed to warn the medical providers and mothers about these side effects. As part of a federal civil and criminal complaint investigation, it was alleged that the manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, promoted this “off-label” use despite there being no FDA approval and paid kickbacks to physicians to prescribe the drug. GlaxoSmithKline never admitted wrongdoing in its promotion of the off label use of Zofran. However, GlaxoSmithKline entered into a civil and criminal settlement in 2012 with the government which included resolution of civil claims related to the use of Zofran as well as many other allegations related to marketing of other pharmaceutical products. As part of this settlement, the largest health care fraud settlement in U.S. History, GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay over 3 billion ($3,000,000,000.00) dollars in fines, forfeiture and civil claim settlements and plead guilty to a three-count criminal information regarding counts of introducing misbranded drugs, Paxil and Wellbutrin, into commerce and the failure to report saftey data regarding another one of its drugs, Avandia, to the FDA. If you have taken Zofran during pregnancy, please feel free to call our office to discuss your options. We have also put some frequently asked questions below to give you a little more information about the claims surrounding Zofran.

I TOOK ZOFRAN WHILE PREGNANT WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Don’t panic. If you are still pregnant you should discuss any concerns you have with your doctor. He or she can explain the risks and help you with any concerns. If you had an uncomplicated birth and a healthy child then you really shouldn’t worry. I would suggest talking to your pediatrician to make sure there are no health issues such as an undiagnosed heart defect. However, if you took Zofran for morning sickness and your child was born with heart issues, a cleft lip or cleft palate we would suggest you contact our office. You should also go to your pharmacist and obtain any records you have of medications taken during pregnancy. If you have trouble getting these records we can help.

WHAT ARE THE LAWSUITS INVOLVING ZOFRAN CLAIMING?

The lawsuits against the manufacturer of Zofran, GlaxoSmithKline, set forth allegations that go far beyond just unintended injuries from the drug. The allegations include claims that GlaxoSmithKline decided to illegally market this drug while at the same time they withheld important warnings about the link between Zofran and birth defects.

WHAT IF I TOOK THE DRUG SEVERAL YEARS AGO?

As most everyone knows each state has a time limit to file a lawsuit. However, in Tennessee, the statute of limitations is tolled if the injured person is under eighteen (18) years old. As such, if your child has one of these injuries and they are nineteen (19) years old or younger, it is possible they still have a claim. As with any case, the longer you wait, the more difficult it is to put evidence together so we suggest you contact a Nashville Zofran lawyer as soon as possible.

WHAT DOES IT COST TO HIRE A ZOFRAN LAWYER

We take these cases on a contingent fee basis. This means that you don’t have to pay anything unless a recovery is made. If a recovery is made, our fee will be based upon a percentage of the money obtained plus costs incurred.
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The Higgins Firm is pleased to announce that Carrie LaBrec has joined the firm. LaBrec will focus her practice in the Serious Injury and Wrongful Death Litigation section of The Higgins Firm. In this role, LaBrec will aggressively prosecute client cases related to nursing home abuse and catastrophic automobile accidents cases.

“Throughout her career, Carrie has been a vigorous advocate for her clients,” said Jim Higgins, managing partner of The Higgins Firm. “Our clients will benefit from her broad understanding of the law mixed with a critical and significant hands-on trial practice.”

LaBrec gained extensive trial experience as a Metro Nashville Assistant Public Defender from 2007 through 2011. During this time, LaBrec represented clients in numerous courtroom proceedings at Criminal Court and General Sessions levels.

After working with the Public Defender, LaBrec augmented her trial work with a respected litigation firm. There, she gained several years’ experience in civil litigation, primarily handling motor vehicle accidents, premises liability, and employment law cases.

LaBrec is licensed in the State of Tennessee and Middle and Western Federal Districts of Tennessee. LaBrec is a graduate of Belmont University and Willamette University College of Law. She is an avid soccer player and a supporter of several humanitarian organizations, including National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) and Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). She formerly served as a volunteer and community resource specialist at the YWCA Domestic Violence Center

Commercials, Billboards, Websites…. how can you pick a car accident lawyer that is right for your case? The key to choosing the right lawyer for you and your case is to do your homework. It is always good to ask around. If you know someone that has used a lawyer in a similar case ask how they liked the car wreck attorney and how their case turned out. When discussing the matter make sure to ask questions about the communication with the lawyer. Did his or her office return calls promptly? Did they keep the client informed as the case progressed? Did they include the client on decisions regarding the case?

 

 

You may also want to look at resources on the internet. Client reviews and verdict results are a great source of information. Also, how long has the lawyer been practicing and do they focus on cases like yours? Once you narrow it down to a few choices the next important step is to have a face to face meeting with the lawyer. There is really no substitute for a direct conversation. Also, when you come to the meeting come prepared. You need to be prepared to not only discuss your case with the car accident lawyer but also the lawyer’s experience. In turn, the lawyer should have some questions for you. For instance, I always ask a new client what are their expectations are about the case? What do they want from the case? I need to know that I can meet those expectations and that the client will be satisfied with the services my office can provide. To make the meeting productive you should bring the following:
– Any photographs of the accident scent, damage to vehicles and of any injuries you sustained as a result of the car wreck or other accident – A copy of your health insurance card and your automobile insurance card – A copy of the accident report. If you have not obtained this report our office can obtain it for you.
– A copy of any medical records and medical bills you may have – Any proof you may have of lost wages or other damages
Finally, when you are ready to make your choice and think there is one final yet crucial element: trust. It is difficult to describe but the needs to be a level of trust and comfort between the lawyer and client to ensure the case progresses as it should. The client needs to feel free to discuss any portion of the case with their lawyer and the lawyer needs to give straight forward and honest answers. The answers are not always easy or what the client wants to hear but these cases can be difficult and everyone involved needs to know that each can trust the other to be candid.
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Residents in Tennessee and people all across the country have heard about serious side effects and complications occurring after taking certain medicines such as Xarelto. We count on our medications to make us better and help our lives to be better. Unfortunately, sometimes some medications such as Xarelto can cause dangerous side effects like uncontrollable bleeding and this can lead to serious health problems or even death. If you or someone you care about has suffered serious complications or died after using Xarelto, then you should speak to a Tennessee Xarelto lawyer as soon as possible. They will hear your case and help you get the compensation that is rightfully yours for what you have been through.

 

 

In this case, plaintiffs who have filed lawsuits due to Xarelto complications have requested that a panel of federal judges consolidate all of the lawsuits in the U.S. District Court. The plaintiffs stated that the Xarelto complaints have the same or similar complaints and claim that people who used the blood thinning medication in order to help prevent a stroke or a blood clot have suffered uncontrollable bleeding or death. These lawsuits also claim that Bayer AG and Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., a part of the Johnson & Johnson Company failed to warn doctors and their patients that Xarelto has no antidote to reverse bleeding should significant bleeding events occur in patients. The Johnson & Johnson Company filed their own response urging the court to reject the plaintiffs’ request to consolidate all of the lawsuits.
Representatives for those who previously used Xarelto and their families have asked the panel to assign the fifty cases filed in fifteen different federal courts to U.S. District Judge David Herndon. If panel goes ahead with the request, Judge Herndon would manage pretrial proceedings of the Xarelto multidistrict litigation. . Bayer recommended that the judicial panel assign the Xarelto litigation to U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson who is already managing two Xarelto cases.

Xarelto is an oral medication that has been prescribed as a blood thinner and was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help treat deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. The FDA initially approved Xarelto in July 2011 to reduce the risk of blood clots in patients who had knee or hip replacement surgery. In November 2011, the FDA expanded the use of Xarelto to reduce the risk of stroke and blood clots in patients with atrial fibrillation. As it announced the expanded approval of the drug, the FDA also stated that Xarelto was the first drug since warfarin was approved 60 years ago to treat and prevent the recurrence of blood clots. The FDA approved the use of warfarin also known as Coumadin and Jantoven as a blood thinner in 1954. However, warfarin has vitamin K as an antidote; Xarelto does not have an antidote to stop bleeding should a significant bleeding event occur in patients using Xarelto.

The plaintiffs in this case stated that the aggressive marketing and promotion efforts of Bayer and Janssen helped to increase the sales of Xarelto. The plaintiffs, however, claim that the increased sales also contributed to the mounting number of serious adverse events associated with Xarelto. The plaintiffs’ motion stated that there were 1,080 serious Xarelto-related events, which included 65 deaths, reported to the FDA in the year leading up to June 30, 2012. By the end of 2012, there were 2,081 new serious adverse Xarelto events reported to the FDA. Of those reported, 151 resulted in death, compared to only 56 deaths associated with warfarin.
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Xarelto is one of the latest drugs on the market to come under attack due to its potentially harmful and even life-threatening side effects. The first lawsuit involving Xarelto was filed last August by a Kentucky resident who claims she was hospitalized due to severe internal bleeding caused by taking the medication. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and names Bayer Health Care as a defendant. In her Complaint, the plaintiff alleges that the manufacturer knew about the drug’s dangerous side effects and continued to sell it without informing consumers of the risks.

Xarelto (rivaroxaban) is an anticoagulant, or blood thinner, that was introduced in 2011 after receiving its U.S Food and Drug Administration approval. It was approved for use by patients (1) who have had hip replacement surgery or knee replacement surgery to reduce the risk of blood clots, or (2) who have atrial fibrillation for reducing the risk of stroke. It was also approved for treatment of pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis. The drug is manufactured by Bayer Health Care and marketed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary. It is intended to prevent blood clots from forming which can obstruct vital organs. The benefit of Xarelto over other anticoagulants on the market is that it can be prescribed in one uniform dose instead of requiring specific doses for each individual patient.

Unfortunately, there are many side effects associated with the drug. These side effects include internal bleeding, blood clots, embolism, and hemorrhaging. Essentially, the drug can cause uncontrolled bleeding to occur inside a patient’s body; and if that bleeding occurs near a major organ, the blood flow to that particular organ becomes interrupted and can cause it to lose some functionality. These are the same side effects associated with the anticoagulant Pradaxa, which has been on the market since 2010 and has similarly come under attack. Boehringer Ingelheim-the manufacturer of Pradaxa-has paid close to $650 million to resolve the thousands of cases brought against it due to the drug’s harmful bleeding side effects.
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Tennessee drivers and drivers all across the United States not only rely on their vehicles to keep them safe, they also expect the roads they are driving on to be safe as well. This includes guardrails on highways helping to prevent accidents and injuries when a vehicle may be out of control. However, sometimes companies that make these products are aware that they have defects and problems. If you or someone you know has been seriously injured in an accident and you suspect defective guardrails may have been a factor, then you should speak to a Tennessee defective auto products lawyer right away. They will listen to your case and help make sure you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

According to this case, Joshua Harmon, a self-described safety advocate, filed a lawsuit against Trinity Industries for defects in their guardrails. He filed this lawsuit following an investigation into the accident of Darius Williams. Williams had run his vehicle off an interstate at eighty miles an hour. A length of the guardrail pierced his door and pushed him into the backseat. Days later the police declared the accident a case of reckless driving and Williams was in intensive care. Harmon claimed U.S. federal whistleblower status in order to sue Trinity Industries.

His lawsuit claims that the Trinity Industries company made quiet changes to their guardrails that were meant to reduce injuries but actually led to possible deadly hazards. He is focused on the part the guardrail known as energy-absorbing end terminal. This is supposed to be on the end of a guardrail and give way when hit absorbing energy in order to slow down an out of control vehicle. Trinity, one of the biggest guardrail makers in the U.S., first gained federal approval in 2000 for its ET-Plus end terminal, now used nationwide.

Harmon’s lawsuit alleges that Trinity changed the ET-Plus’s dimensions between 2002 and 2005 without telling federal authorities. These changes caused the guardrails to lock up and act more like a shiv instead of a shock absorber that could impale cars and possibly the drivers and passengers in them.

Jack Todd, a spokesman for Trinity, states that the company has a “high degree of confidence” in its product. An executive in a 2012 deposition for a patent infringement lawsuit over the ET-Plus said that Trinity had made changes to its end terminal but that they were “cosmetic” and didn’t require new approvals because they didn’t hurt its performance. Todd said Trinity didn’t sell the revised end terminals until they had been crash-tested in 2005 and the Federal Highway Administration had “issued its letter of acceptance.” Trinity claims that Harman can’t claim to be impartial: He and his brother own two small companies that once made and installed generic end terminals based on Trinity’s ET-Plus design. In 2011, Trinity sued for patent infringement. The company also disputed Harman’s eligibility to sue under the federal whistle-blower law, saying he’s basing his allegations largely on public information, not insider knowledge. If Harman prevails in the case, his whistle-blower status could allow him to take about a third of any judgment.

U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap dismissed Trinity’s objections, saying Harman’s expertise qualifies him to sue as a whistle-blower. A jury will begin to hear arguments in July.
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Four hundred and forty thousand people die every year from preventable medical errors. According to the Journal of Patient Safety, this figure is up from 98,000 deaths since 1999, making preventable medical errors the third leading cause of death in the United States. Furthermore, research suggests that one in three patients admitted to the hospital will experience some medical error during their stay and such errors will cost the United States tens of billions of dollars each year. Unfortunately, however, earlier this year the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services discreetly stopped reporting this information.

Sometime during the middle of 2014 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services stopped releasing information related to the occurrence of medical errors at heath care facilities, which they call “hospital-acquired conditions.” These conditions include such things as leaving a sponge or other foreign object inside a patient’s body and giving a patient the wrong blood type. Patients used to be able to access this information on the CMS Hospital Compare webpage.

Fortunately for patients, federal regulators will reverse their decision and once again provide the information to the public. According to CMS spokeman Aaron Albright, “We are working to make it available as a public-use file for researchers and others who are interested in the data. It’s been requested, so we will make it available.” This is good news for those who might be getting elective surgery, for example, as they can better assess different hospitals in order to find the best fit.
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According to a recent lawsuit, the plaintiff alleges that due to a faulty robotic surgery performed in 2011, by an improperly trained surgeon, she has suffered from tremendous pain and injuries including an anastomotic leak and a rectovaginal fistula, which she needed additional surgery in order to fix the problem. The plaintiff also claims that the da Vinci Company knew about the risks and injuries associated with robotic surgery but did not properly warn patients about the dangers involved. According to her claims, Intuitive Surgical Inc, the producer of the da Vinci Surgical System told surgeons that they would no longer be competitive if they did not perform surgeries using the da Vinci Surgical System.

You can watch an interview on the case here:

 

The Food and Drug Administration allowed the da Vinci Surgical System to be sold in 2002 under the premarket notification process that does not make trials or safety measures mandatory. They did require surgeons to receive extensive training if they used the system. In 2002, the seventy question exam and three day training that Intuitive Surgical originally had became a ten question online exam and one day of training. This meant that the surgeons were not properly trained to perform the robotic procedures.

A study done in 2013 revealed that even though Intuitive Surgical Inc. stated that robotic surgical procedures were safer and more-effective than non-robotic surgical procedures, the complication risks were actually the same.

There have been seventy reported deaths linked to robotic surgery complications since 2009. The plaintiff is seeking general damages, medical expenses and additional compensation for her loss of income and distress.

In Tennessee and all across the United States, when we go to the doctor or a surgeon to have a surgery performed or to be treated, we expect that the doctor will warn us about possible risks and that the surgery will help us to feel better or to enhance our quality of life. Unfortunately, however, sometimes doctors are aware of risks but fail to inform their patients and this can lead to serious injuries or the need for additional surgery. If you or someone you love has been injured after having da Vinci Robotic surgery, then you should speak to a Tennessee personal injury lawyer right away. They will hear your case and get you the compensation you need for your injuries.
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The decision to move a loved one into a nursing home or assisted living facility can be a complicated and emotional one. Many factors go into making such a decision, and typically people are in a fragile state of mind when it comes time to actually do so. Unfortunately, this is also the time when nursing homes can try to take advantage of you by having you sign important legal documents, such as arbitration agreements, while concealing it as part of the normal admissions process.

Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution whereby legal disputes are resolved outside of the court system. In arbitration, the two parties to the dispute choose a neutral third-party to hear the case and determine the outcome. Each side presents evidence and testimony, and the arbiter ultimately makes a ruling on the case. The decision of the arbiter is final and binding. Much of the process of arbitration proceeds just as a normal trial would; however, there is one significant difference. By agreeing to arbitration you waive your right to a jury trial. And because juries are typically more sympathetic to an injured patient than arbiters, monetary awards are often dramatically lower than those awarded by juries. This is not something that nursing home administrators inform patients of before they have them sign such agreements.

Nonetheless arbitration agreements are continually being slipped into the long list of forms presented to patients before they receive any treatment and regarded as just another part of the standard admissions process. Unfortunately, due to the typically dire circumstances attendant with admission to a nursing home, patients and their loved ones do not possess the requisite time or mental state to fully understand what they are signing. Thus, legal battles over the legality of arbitration agreements ensue.

Fortunately for the patients, there are a number of legal arguments which, if successful, will prevent the enforcement of these agreements. The first is the issue of unconscionability. If the court deems the agreement unconscionable, it means that the contract does not “conform to the dictates of conscience.” In other words, the agreement is so unreasonably unfair that the court will refuse to enforce it.

Another avenue of defense is the concept of “authority to sign.” Not just anyone is allowed to sign a contract on behalf of another person. However, nursing homes routinely have whoever accompanies the resident to the facility sign the paperwork, regardless of their relationship to the patient. This type of signature is not valid. Only a person specifically designated to make decisions regarding another’s legal choices can validly sign an arbitration agreement waiving the other’s right to a jury trial. Importantly, a person designated to make health care decisions of behalf of another is not also automatically empowered with the right to make decisions regarding arbitration. Seven state supreme courts agree that the decision to arbitrate is not a health care decision. Unfortunately, this has not stopped nursing home facilities from fighting to enforce their invalid agreements at the expense of the rights of their residents.
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News of the massive airbag recall is making waves across the automotive industry this week as new estimates suggest that over 7.8 million vehicles are potentially affected in the United States alone. Recent reports indicate that four people have been killed and over one hundred and thirty nine have been injured due to the defective Takata airbags.

The Japanese airbags in question contain a metal canister filled with chemical propellant that, when the airbag is deployed, can explode. The propellant causes the canister to rupture, which in turn can cause shrapnel to discharge into the cabin of the vehicle at speeds of over one hundred miles per hour. Accordingly to the results of a recent investigation, Takata has allegedly known about the defective airbags since 2004, but declined to notify the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at the time. Takata has blamed the defect on, among other things, rust, faulty welds, and dropped chewing gum; however the Japanese supplier has not announced its final conclusion as to the cause of the defect.

The airbag recall was first announced in April 2013, when only six makes of vehicles were thought to be affected. Expanded recalls were announced in both July and October of this year. To date, eleven additional automakers have been added to the recall list. The following is a complete list of the make, model and year of all the affected vehicles:

Acura: undetermined number of potentially affected vehicles
2002 – 2003 CL 2002 – 2003 TL 2003 – 2006 MDX 2005 RL
BMW: 627,615 potentially affected vehicles
2000 – 2005 3 Series Sedan 2000 – 2006 3 Series Coupe 2000 – 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon 2000 – 2006 3 Series Convertible 2001 – 2006 M3 Coupe 2001 – 2006 M3 Convertible
Chrysler/Dodge: 371,309 potentially affected vehicles
2003 – 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 2005 – 2008 Dodge Ram 2500 2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 3500 2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 4500 2008 Dodge Ram 5500 2005 – 2008 Dodge Durango 2005 – 2008 Dodge Dakota 2005 – 2008 Chrysler 300 2007 – 2008 Chrysler Aspen
Ford: 58,669 potentially affected vehicles
2004 Ranger 2005 – 2006 GT 2005 – 2007 Mustang
General Motors: undetermined number of potentially affected vehicles
2003 – 2005 Pontiac Vibe 2005 Saab 9-2X
Honda: 5,051,364 potentially affected vehicles
2001 – 2007 Honda Accord 2001 – 2005 Honda Civic 2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V 2003 – 2011 Honda Element 2002 – 2004 Honda Odyssey 2003 – 2007 Honda Pilot 2006 Honda Ridgeline 2003 – 2006 Acura MDX 2002 – 2003 Acura TL/CL 2005 Acura RL
Infiniti: undetermined number of potentially affected vehicles
2001 – 2004 Infiniti I30/I35 2002 – 2003 Infiniti QX4 2003 – 2005 Infiniti FX35/FX45
Lexus: undetermined number of potentially affected vehicles
2002 – 2005 SC430
Mazda: 64,872 potentially affected vehicles
2003 – 2007 Mazda6 2006 – 2007 MazdaSpeed6 2004 – 2008 Mazda RX-8 2004 – 2005 MPV 2004 B-Series Truck
Mitsubishi: 11,985 potentially affected vehicles
2004 – 2005 Lancer 2006 – 2007 Raider
Nissan: 694,626 potentially affected vehicles
2001 – 2003 Nissan Maxima 2001 – 2004 Nissan Pathfinder 2002 – 2004 Nissan Sentra 2001 – 2004 Infiniti I30/I35 2002 – 2003 Infiniti QX4 2003 – 2005 Infiniti FX35/FX45
Pontiac: undetermined number of potentially affected vehicles
2003 – 2005 Vibe
Saab: undetermined number of potentially affected vehicles
2005 9-2X
Subaru: 17,516 potentially affected vehicles
2003 – 2005 Baja 2003 – 2005 Legacy 2003 – 2005 Outback 2004 – 2005 Impreza
Toyota: 877,000 potentially affected vehicles
2002 – 2005 Lexus SC 2002 – 2005 Toyota Corolla 2003 – 2005 Toyota Corolla Matrix 2002 – 2005 Toyota Sequoia 2003 – 2005 Toyota Tundra Continue Reading