Link Between Ovarian Cancer and Talc-Based Cosmetic Products

26770539316_653521db53_zWithin the past couple of years, lawsuits have been filed against companies like Johnson & Johnson in regards to products containing talcum powder. Research has shown that talcum powder is an unsafe sterilizing agent that can lead to ovarian cancer in women who use products like Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder around their genital area. While Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based powder is labeled as Baby Powder, they market their product for women’s use too.

Studies have been conducted since the 1980s on the negative side effects of talcum powder use in the female genital area, but Johnson & Johnson never informed their consumers about the risk of using their products containing the powder because the results were inconclusive; there was no grounding evidence to support the link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder (though past and recent claims would suggest otherwise).

What exactly is talcum powder?

According to The American Cancer society, talc powder is essentially a mineral comprised of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. It can be used as a sterilizing agent, and is the first named ingredient in Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder.

Where is the link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder?

Women who use talc-based products like Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder for feminine hygiene are at risk of forming ovarian cancer due to talc particles getting trapped in their ovarian tissues. Trapped talc particles would eventually cause inflammation in the ovaries and lead to the development of cancerous ovarian cell growth.

A woman from Texas filed a complaint in mid-August alleging that the consistent use of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder caused the death of her daughter, Janel Kuntz. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 43 years old, and was apparently using Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder product for at least 23 years. She was unaware of the health complications talc powder has on females who use it to keep their lady parts “fresh” as the powder absorbs moisture and eliminates odor.

But Janel Kuntz was not the first woman to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer due to using Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder. The first talcum powder lawsuit filed against Johnson & Johnson was in 2009 by a woman named Diane Berg. And in 2013, Jackie Fox filed a talcum powder lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson. Unfortunately Ms. Fox passed away in 2015 due to ovarian cancer, but the pharmaceutical company was found liable and paid out $72 million to Ms. Fox’s son after her death.

Berg, Kuntz, and Fox are only a few among many women who have filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson for their unsafe talc-based powder products. The growing number of talcum powder lawsuits being filed against Johnson & Johnson has sparked “a group of plaintiffs” to file a motion with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to consolidate all claims as part of a multi-district ligtigation (MDL).

Photo credit: Mike Mozart, photo

Levy Settlement On Hold As Interviews With Claimants Are Still Being Conducted

RD Legal Funding LogoDr. Nikita Levy – husband, father, family man, OB/GYN – deceased since February 2013 when he took his own life. The doctor committed suicide soon after he was accused of violating his doctor-patient relationship with thousands of women who were examined by him. Dr. Levy practiced for at least 25 years at a John Hopkins Medicine Clinic in Baltimore, Maryland. He was highly esteemed as a great OB/GYN practitioner, leaving most of his patients shocked when they found out that he secretly filmed them with a spy pen during their pelvic examinations.

The disturbing news was brought forth when a coworker took home Dr. Levy’s pen to confirm her suspicions that the doctor was indeed filming his patients. It has been reported that over 1,000 photos and videos were taken of his patients while they were undressed.

A $190 million dollar settlement was approved by the court in September 2014 between John Hopkins Hospital and the women involved in the lawsuit. 9,600 claims against Dr. Levy were timely submitted to the court in November 2014, but at least 2,000 claimants are still awaiting approval due to lack of evidence (medical records) that would indicate they were ever seen by Dr. Levy in the past.

Even though the court reached a settlement, timely claims need to be assessed to ensure validity and accuracy of the submitted claims. Assessments have and will be made by Adjudicator Judge Irma S. Raker (Ret.) who will be assisted by RG/2 Claims Administration LLC. Accepted claimants are assessed by interviews via telephone; individuals will be asked questions regarding their claim. And because there are thousands of interviews being conducted, only less than half of the 9,600 claimants have been contacted thus far.

Once all of the claimants have been contacted, and assessments are made, the settlement for $190 million dollars will be processed to all with valid claims. The award amount received by each claimant is still uncertain, though it will depend on the severity of each individual’s injuries.

Revisiting the Chinese Drywall Crisis


Since 2001, Chinese drywall has created problems for homeowners in the United States. A specific kind of drywall imported from China that contained sulfurous compounds left many people in a state of distress. From health complications to visible damage in household appliances made with copper and/or metal, the installation of Chinese drywall has proved to be disastrous. The sulfurous compounds contained in the drywall have been identified by The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC); hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide and carbon disulfide are just a few that have been found in the drywall testing.

The manufacturing of Chinese drywall consisting of sulfurous compounds has stopped since 2012 due to the Drywall Safety Act.

Most of the people affected by the negative side effects linked to contaminated Chinese drywall are located down south in states like Florida and Louisiana.

The hotter the air is, the more humid weather conditions are, which in turn causes the emission of said sulfurous compounds to be released from the drywall. When temperatures rise, the sulfurous compounds emit a rotten-egg like smell, and also corrode appliances like air conditioners and fire alarms causing appliances to fail and be replaced.

Though sometimes the sulfurous smell cannot be detected, it is still damaging to homeowners who are unaware of the complications that can arise from the defected Chinese drywall. Sulfurous compounds not only damage household appliances, but they also create serious health issues for people who are living in a house built with Chinese drywall. There have been reported complaints linked to homeowners living with Chinese drywall that include dry eye, headaches, sinus infections, nosebleeds and difficulty breathing.

Problems have and will keep arising if the Chinese drywall is not replaced.

In order to detect if you’re experiencing a Chinese drywall problem, a threshold inspection must take place. If the inspection validates that you’re indeed suffering from Chinese Drywall Syndrome, then legal action may be taken in order to receive compensation for any issues you’ve experienced while living with the defected Chinese drywall.

Photo Credit: Georgia National Guard, photo

Eliquis Leads to Deaths and Possible MDL Class Action Lawsuits


Eliquis (Apixaban) is an oral anticoagulant made by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer. The blood thinning medication was first put on the market in 2012 in Europe, and was later approved by the FDA in the United States in 2014.  Before Eliquis was deemed safe enough to prescribe to patients, the drug went through a clinical trial under the name of ARISTOTLE. According to various news outlets, trial agents buried crucial information linked to the study from the FDA, like adverse side effects that transpired during the trial. Side effects included severe internal bleeding to subjects using the medication, and it was also noted that a death went unreported during the trial as well.

Eliquis proved to be more harmful than beneficial, but the drug went on the market nonetheless as Bristol-Meyers Squibb and Pfizer hid critical data about the adverse effects Eliquis had on its subjects during the trial.

The drug has only recently gained attention as a dangerous anticoagulant with two wrongful death claims reported within the past two years.

Other blood thinning medications like Xarelto (Rivaroxaban) and Pradaxa (Dabigatran) have caused problems and complications for patients before Eliquis was produced and manufactured.

Boehringer Ingelheim, Pradaxa’s manufacturer, paid $650 million dollars in 2014 to settle 4,000 state and federal lawsuits over their blood thinner Pradaxa.

It wasn’t until 2015 that a medication named Praxbind (Idarucizumab) was created to reverse the side effects associated with Pradaxa. And even so, Praxbind surfaced on the market too late as thousands of wrongful death lawsuits have been filed against Boehringer Ingelheim since 2012.

The recent lawsuits claims against Bristol-Meyers Squibb and Pfizer are centered on patients who have died from internal bleeding using Eliquis. A complaint was filed by Deborah Herschell for her husband’s death in June 2015. And in June of this year, another complaint was filed by Kathleen Odum for her father’s death in June 2014. Mr. Donald Herschell and Mr. Oliver Becker suffered from irregular heartbeat, or what is also known as atrial fibrillation (AFib). What both of these deaths have in common is that they were potentially caused by Eliquis.

What is AFib?

AFib is caused by an irregular, rapid heart rate that may cause poor blood flow to those who are diagnosed with the medical condition. Other symptoms of AFib include, but are not limited to:

  • Palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular blood supply
  • Blood clotting
  • Stroke
  • Heart Failure

Anticoagulants are therefore commonly prescribed to patients who suffer from AFib; they’re also prescribed to patients who undergo hip or knee replacement surgery to prevent blood clots from forming.

It’s unfortunate that these pharmaceutical corporations have failed to take responsibility for the health complications caused by the medications they supply. But there are many law firms willing to take on class action suits against Bristol-Meyers Squibb and Pfizer for their defected blood thinner medication, Eliquis. And while there aren’t enough Eliquis lawsuits for the courts to merge them into a multi-district litigation (MDL) just yet, plaintiffs’ lawyers expect more Eliquis claims to be filed across the country as the side effects of the drug worsen in patients.

American Medical Systems, Inc. (AMS) Settles Ongoing Vaginal Mesh Lawsuits


Though there are still cases that have yet to be settled, a subsidiary of Endo International plc has recently resolved more than 100 cases regarding vaginal mesh injury claims. American Medical Systems, Inc. (AMS) has settled multi-district litigation cases in West Virginia concerning injuries and complications due to defected vaginal mesh products.

Endo International plc is a healthcare company that globally produces, manufactures, markets and distributes pharmaceutical products (brand name and generic). Some of AMS’s defected products attached to the lawsuit are listed below:

  • Apogee
  • Perigee
  • MiniArc Sling
  • IntePro Y Sling

Among other reported injuries, most women who used said products have experienced side effects and complications that include chronic pelvic pain, recurrence of prolapse and/or stress urinary incontinence (SUI). While vaginal mesh products are supposed to help treat women with SUI and pelvic organ prolapse (POP), they’re in turn creating more issues for these women, and in some cases, making matters worse. The FDA approved vaginal mesh products to help aid women with SUI and POP, but now they’re considered to be “high-risk devices” due to the continuing injuries linked to the implants.

In 2014, Endo made an agreement with multiple plaintiffs’ firms involved with vaginal mesh injury cases to pay $830 million dollars in hopes of settling a great portion of these particular injury suits. Though Endo resolved a large chunk of these cases, the company is still knee deep in open cases. Endo is reaching settlements years after they announced they’d pay millions to settle thousands of suits in regards to the injury claims.

Last year in April, Endo reported to U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin concerning the settlements they made in more than 300 cases. 108 more cases settled by Endo were reported to the judge a month later. And then again in July, 100 cases with AMS were settled.

Even with the recent cases AMS has settled, tens of thousands of cases are still open and pending between other MDLs.

U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Sues For Gender Discrimination

USWNT Picture

The United States Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) were the talk of the country last year bringing home the gold medals. Their stories and names became part of the sports lore as they battled tough teams to reach the pinnacle of soccer. They beat Germany in the Women’s World Cup Finals in Canada and being treated to a ticker tape parade in New York City Much to their dismay, they have to continue fighting but this time in a court room against the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). According to various news reports, the USWNT filed suit against the USSF for wage disparity between the men’s soccer team and the women’s soccer team. The grievance was filed with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This lawsuit has caused conversation about the wage parity issue across the world and on other issues affecting female athletes. The USWNT has been more successful then the USMNT and according to the reports are paid four times less than the men. Hope Solo, one of the superstars on the team, was quoted as saying to Associated Press

“We are the best in the world, have three World Cup championships, four Olympic championships, and the [men] get paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships.

The wage disparity complaints aren’t new from the USWNT. In fact, women soccer players all over the world have been battling for equality in pay and stature. As bad as the pay disparity is in the United States, some women’s national teams have it much worse. The fight for equality among the sexes never ends, but because sports is primarily merit based people may not understand the fight female athletes have to wage. In addition to pay, they have less sponsors, shoddier equipment, and less marketing devoted to their activities. In these past few years, underrepresented groups are making their voices heard on a range of issues. Women, especially, have become more vocal about the issues affecting them like work life balance and pay equity. The book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg touched on these issues. There has been proposed legislation for equal pay among the sexes.This lawsuit announces to the world that the USWNT is now part of the fight to end the wage disparity between the sexes.

Photo: DSC_2429, Photo Credit: SuzieBlue8

Catholic Church Sex Abuse Settlements Continue

Catholic Church

Various dioceses within the Catholic church continue to settle with victims of sex abuse at the hands of church officials and clergymen. Recently, the diocese of Camden settled two decades old sex abuse allegations. The settlement amount wasn’t revealed, but some outlets have reported the victims received five figures. According to published stories about the scandal, the male victims were abused in the 1950s and 1960s respectively. The abuse took place when the victims were adolescents. They received their compensation later in life. The sex abuse scandals have been haunting the Catholic Church for decades. The explosion of allegations, revelation of cover ups, and announcements of huge settlements have all damaged the reputation of the church. In addition, they have been big financial blows to the church who have had to pay millions to the victims.

The Camden settlements are just the latest in a string of settlements that the church has reached with victims for decades. The 2015 film Spotlight dramatized the journey journalists from the Boston Globe went through to report the allegations and stories of the victims. Aside from the film, the global scandal has been written, talked about, and discussed in many forms of media. Currently, there are lawsuits moving forward in court on this issue. While the topic has not been as widely covered as it once was when the scandal first broke, it is still deemed newsworthy. Catholic Sex Abuse scandal has effected and continues to affect individuals and families haunted by the trauma. The abuse and subsequent cover up went on for so long that it will still take decades before it dies down. Future settlements will probably be made because of the negative impact the sex abuse scandal has had on the Catholic Church. Victims are seeking compensation and justice for the abuse they suffered and continue to receive it even after a long period of time passes. The Camden settlements just show that the Catholic Church has a long way to go handling this issue.

Photo: St. Antoine Catholic Church, Photo Credit: Andrey

Victims Compensation Fund Pays $234 Million To Claimants

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According to the 9/11 First Responder’s Victims Compensation Fund (VCF), they have paid an estimated $234 million to claimants seeking compensation. Their latest update on March 1st was made by Sheila Birnbaum, the Special Master and main point person for the fund. The $234 million went to pay 1,000 claims and Birnbaum has pledged to continue to focus on expediting the payment of claims. This is big news which comes on the heels of the extension of the James Zadroga Act in 2015. That fight which went on for months required the assistance of Jon Stewart and others to shame and prod Congressional members to vote to extend the act.

Birnbaum also said the priority for the VCF will be the Group A claims. Group A claims are ones that have been received and computed due to the regulations before August 2011. The extension also makes these claims a priority to be paid. A timeline produced by the VCF shows that all Group A claims should be paid by June 2016. Group B funding and payments should begin in September 2016.

The extension of the James Zadroga Act has provided permanent funding to the VCF and has extended the window of when claimants can receive medical care. The Zadroga Act expired around October 2015. Until December 2015 when the extension was passed, it was a fight everyday to get meetings with members of Congress to hear the pleas from the 9/11 First Responder community. Activists like John Feal, 9/11 Health Watch, the entire New York Congressional Delegation, celebrities like Jon Stewart all worked together to get the bill passed.

Dow Chemical Reaches $835 Million Settlement On Polyurethane Class Action Lawsuit

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Dow Chemical was the final holdout in the polyurethane litigation that has been ongoing for over a decade. It was announced, they settled the polyurethane class action lawsuit for $835 million. According to the company, they decided to settle because it was easier than dealing with unknown factors with the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. In their press release about the settlement, they stated

Growing political uncertainties due to recent events within the Supreme Court and increased likelihood for unfavorable outcomes for business involved in class action suits have changed Dow’s risk assessment of the situation.

The company was accused of engaging in price-fixing on products that contained polyurethane for a long period of time. Dow Chemical vehemently denied the allegations and has fought them even after juries awarded huge verdicts against them. They had an appeal before the Supreme Court where they were hoping to have the verdicts overturned. Some news outlets have reported even if the Supreme Court heard the case in Scalia’s absence, a tie would have upheld the lower court’s decision which was bad for Dow Chemical. The death of Justice Scalia caused them to reevaluate the situation and settle the lawsuit which they have been dealing with for over 10 years. This should put an end to all polyurethane related litigation because Dow was the last company fighting. All the other companies settled their lawsuits with the plaintiffs. Once news got around Dow Chemical settled this lawsuit, analysts offered positive comments about it. So the plaintiffs now have to wait for distribution of the funds to remedy the problem.

Photo Credit: Dow Chemical Logo by TheTaxHaven

New York University’s 2015 Fall Conference: Litigation Funding

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New York University’s Center on Civil Justice held a conference in late 2015 on the topic of litigation funding. The all day affair featured three different panels where the topic was examined from different viewpoints. The first panel featured representatives from different legal funding companies and they explained the basics of the litigation funding.

New York University is one of the premier universities in the entire world with campuses all over the globe. Their panel on litigation funding adds stature to the industry and the panelists also added an additional level because of where they are in the industry. Some of the panelists were representatives from the biggest litigation funding companies. Others were people from academia who have studied and written about the topic.

Litigation Funding has been the topic of the month and has been gaining traction in recent months as the industry continues to grow. It is such a huge topic and growing part of the legal and finance industries, people need to be educated on all sides of the industry. In the recent years, several hedge funds, venture capital firms have put money into companies that are in the legal funding sector. In addition, several high powered attorneys in the law have defected to some litigation funding companies. So the industry now has name recognition and stature in the legal, finance, and increasingly in the media. The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and The Economist have all covered the litigation funding industry. Those stories and others have helped increase the profile of the industry to the general public and interested parties.