Articles Posted in Products Liability

In 2015, a baby boy only known as ‘Baby Doe’ was born addicted to opioid painkillers. His first few days of life were spent in an agonizing withdrawal in the neo natal unit. Three Tennessee prosecutors and the baby’s guardian have teamed up together and filed a lawsuit against several manufacturers of opioid painkillers. The prosecutors claim the drug companies used deceptive marketing tactics which ultimately downplayed the risks of developing an addiction to opioid medications.

Filed in June, at the Sullivan County Circuit Court in Kingsport, Tennessee, the infant boy who was the driving push behind the suit is known to have survived his battle. The extent of impact which the addiction had on his health is yet unknown.

Since 2016 lawsuits involving hernia mesh developed by Ethicon, Inc. continue to mount. Sold under Physiomesh, the products have raised concern over their safety and ability to reduce the symptoms of a hernia. Multidistrict litigation, on the Federal level, is now underway at the U.S. District.

On July 17th, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) released an update on the number of suits. At that time there were at least 84 pending Physiomesh lawsuits with more expected to come. Eighteen of these were filed within the previous month when 66 suits were reported.

The Physiomesh lawsuit alleges that the hernia patches are flawed in their design and result in irritation, adhesions, extreme pain , perforations, infections, mesh erosions, , and other health complications. The JPML have effectively transferred the federally filed suits against Physiomesh to the Northern District of Georgia. Here they will undergo pretrial proceedings that will include a full discovery. The litigation is scheduled to convene on August 1st at an Initial Conference meeting. All disclosure and discover proceedings are at halt pending the outcome of the Initial Conference.

A jury in St. Louis just delivered the largest verdict against Johnson & Johnson in the talcum powder trials. There have been around 2,400 lawsuits filed against the company by people claiming that using their talc-powder caused ovarian cancer and other illnesses.

In this recent case, a Virginia woman, Ms. Slemp, sued after developing ovarian cancer. She was using the Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder for feminine hygiene and had for several decades prior to being diagnosed. The St. Louis jury awarded her $110 million. This is the largest verdict to be rendered against J&J for their talc-powder thus far. Four prior trials resulted in verdicts of $197 million in total.

Ms. Slemp was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012 and has undergone chemotherapy. Since then, the cancer has also spread to her liver.

As drivers and passengers, we count on airbags to protect us in the event of a collision. Few people would think that these airbags could actually be the source of trauma and pain. Unfortunately, this is exactly what’s happening with airbags produced by Takata. Typically found in Hondas, these airbags are incredibly dangerous and explosive. In one case, a 17-year-old girl lost her life due to this faulty product.

The Case

Huma Hanif was killed on March 31 after her Civic was in an accident. The airbag inflated like it was supposed to but not without a metal piece breaking apart and causing her fatal injuries. This is in-line with the reported explosions happening in the metal canisters that are part of the Takata airbag make up. Grieving for their loss, her family filed a lawsuit against Takata, the car dealer they purchased the Civic from, and Honda. All three have recently settled the case with her family outside of court. The settlements were for an undisclosed amount, as is common in these types of cases. Due to this incredibly tragic event her family will mourn their loss for the rest of their lives. Money can’t bring her back, but the settlement can ease any financial burdens caused by this loss.

The November 22 Tennessee bus accident which left 6 children dead and critically injured 23 more has impacted every family within the state. Now, families of the children who lost their lives have discovered they can receive no more than $750,000 in personal damages.

Modifications to the Tennessee tort reform law in 2011 limited payouts in any personal injury claim against doctors and other relevant businesses. This law, says Tennessee bus accident lawyers, will likely apply to the families considering a civil lawsuit against the Durham School Services and district. The driver of the bus, 24 year old Johnthony Walker, lost control crashing into a tree and telephone pole. Chattanooga police have said Mr. Walker has been charged with six counts of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment and reckless driving.

The recent bus crash in Tennessee has once again renewed the debate about whether or not school buses should be fitted with seat belts. Regardless of such accidents being uncommon, the U.S. government’s top safety regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has spoken out saying all school busses should have seat belts. California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Texas all have laws which mandate seat belts on school buses; Tennessee is not yet one of these. Furthermore, 17 states have introduced seat belt bills, but none has passed. This could be attributed to the price figure estimate of $7,000 – $10,000 per bus. With over 480,000 public school buses on the road, carrying over 25 million children, these costs could exceed the billion dollar mark. After the collision, many people are hoping for a federal mandate.

Most recently, NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind said “We know that seat belts will save lives if we put one for every kid on every school bus.”  However, in the past, the same association, along with the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) has said they’re not convinced seat belts would increase safety. Likewise, The National PTA and The American Academy of Pediatrics have remained in favor of all school buses being fitted with seat belts for children. Both have voiced concerns that the message of “buckle up for safety” should remain consistent across all vehicles both private and public. Donald Carnahan, NAPT President, counters the statement by saying “Seat belts in cars and lap belts on school buses are completely different safety issues.”

The National Coalition for Seatbelts on School Buses, an advocacy organization, has noted several reasons to take the precautionary measure; some of which may include:

Deborah Giannecchini, 62, had been using J&Js’ baby talcum powder as feminine hygiene for 4 decades. However, in 2012 she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and claimed the baby powder was the cause. After hiring a talcum powder lawyer, a lawsuit was filed for compensatory damages due to negligence, and a recommendation for the company to have to attach warnings onto the product.

Only recently, the jury sitting of Mrs. Giannecchinis’ case, ruled in her favor. Her award settlement totaled $70 million; $65 million in punitive damages from J&J with a further $2.5 million for medical costs, pain and suffering. J&Js co-defendant Imerys Talc America, and supplier of the talc, are also required to pay $2.5 million to her. Johnson & Johnson says they sympathize with Mrs. Giannecchini’s situation; however, they went on to say “We will appeal today’s verdict because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.”

Many people have started smoking electronic cigarettes because they are supposedly better for you and the environment. Although there is still controversy surrounding the issue of whether or not they are safer for you.  Now, some people have experienced serious injuries when the device has exploded while they were using it.

According to lawsuits in several different states, there are claims that allege device makers sold defective products. One attorney,Marc Freund,  told The Wall Street Journal that “It’s an issue of the batteries being unregulated and manufactured haphazardly with poor warnings that never get down to the consumer.” Freund represents a teenager who suffered partial blindness from an exploding e-cig and a woman who suffered third-degree burns when a device exploded in her pocket.

Nashville Attorneys, The Higgins Firm, are closely looking into Abilify lawsuits and claims which have raised concern amongst professionals after a number of people were said to have developed a gambling disorder, diabetes or other potentially harmful uncontrollable urges while taking the drug. These urges, the Abilify lawyers go on to say, appeared to have ceased once the medication was discontinued.

The antipsychotic drug Abilify, also known as aripiprazole, is manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Lawsuits against these companies state that they failed to provide sufficient warnings on the label of the drug and neglected to properly educate the prescribing doctors of Abilify’s’ side effects.

In this case, Andrew Yount grew breasts after taking Risperdal since he was five. He was awarded 70 million in damages for physical disfigurement and emotional distress by a jury in Philadelphia. The award is 28 times greater than the highest jury verdict previously decided against Janssen, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, in Philadelphia-based Risperdal litigation. That former highest verdict award was $2.5 million.

Austin Pledger, who was prescribed Risperdal in 2002 as a teenager for treatment of mood swings related to his autism, developed size 46 DD breasts, allegedly as a result of taking the drug.

Like Yount, Pledger asserted Janssen did not disclose or properly warn of such side effects before he was prescribed Risperdal. A Philadelphia jury awarded Pledger $2.5 million in February of last year. Only one case thus far, featuring Pennsylvania plaintiff William Cirba, has ended with a ruling in Janssen’s favor.

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