Archive for Lawsuits

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.

Eliquis Leads to Deaths and Possible MDL Class Action Lawsuits

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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.

Litigation around Volkswagen Emissions Scandal Heating Up

Volkswagen

Things are looking grim for Volkswagen. As the drum beating continues for justice against Volkswagen, the New York Daily News reported Volkswagen received a $21 billion loan to help it pay for various fines, expenses like car repairs, and lawsuits that are sure to come with the ongoing “Dieselgate” scandal. In addition, the Wall Street Journal reported plaintiff attorneys are preparing their litigation strategy against the company are going to New Orleans to argue where the cases should be heard. Plaintiff and defense attorneys place importance on the venue where cases are heard and its quite normal for them to seek a venue they think will better serve their case. Some of the biggest law firms like Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann, & Bernstein, LLP, Seeger Weiss, LLP, even law firms that usually represent corporations like Boies, Schiller, & Flexner, LLP and Quinn, Emanuel, Urqhart & Sullivan, LLP have thrown their hats in the ring. Since its revelation, a huge spotlight has been placed on Volkswagen and it will stay on the company for quite some time.

“Dieselgate” is about Volkswagen’s diesel cars showing faulty emissions results for over nearly a decade. The Environmental Protection Agency discovered the issue and has taken the lead over the investigation. The EPA sets federal emission standards and Volkswagen’s diesel engines violated them. According to various news reports, the software in those vehicles that would analyze the emission levels would switch between two different operating modes. The system was able to detect when it was being tested and would show results where the emission levels were normal. However, while the car was moving the system would switch and higher levels of emissions would be spewed into the atmosphere. Some news reports claimed they were 40 times higher than the federal standard of emission levels. The big promotion about diesel engine cars were the better gas to miles they would get over regular cars. It was widely assumed they were better for the environment. So in addition to a faulty system, Volkswagen duped their customers who thought they were getting cars that were better for the environment and got good gas mileage. The publication Car and Driver released a list of cars that are affected by the scandal. They include:

  • 2009–2015 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0L TDI
  • 2009–2015 Audi Q7 3.0L V-6 TDI
  • 2009–2016 Volkswagen Touareg 3.0L V-6 TDI
  • 2010–2015 Volkswagen Golf 2.0L TDI
  • 2010–2015 Audi A3 2.0L TDI
  • 2012–2015 Volkswagen Beetle 2.0L TDI
  • 2012–2015 Volkswagen Passat 2.0L TDI
  • 2013–2016 Porsche Cayenne Diesel 3.0L V-6
  • 2014–2016 Audi A6 3.0L V-6 TDI
  • 2014–2016 Audi A7 3.0L V-6 TDI
  • 2014–2016 Audi A8/A8L 3.0L V-6 TDI
  • 2014–2016 Audi Q5 3.0L
  • 2013–2016 Volkswagen Touareg TDI
    2013–2015 Audi Q7 TDI
    2014–2016 Audi A6 TDI
    2014–2016 Audi A7 TDI
    2014–2016 Audi A8 and A8L TDI
    2014–2015 Audi Q5 TDI
    2014–2016 Porsche Cayenne Diesel
    2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI
    2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI
    2015 Audi A3 TDI
    2015 Volkswagen Beetle TDI
    2015 Volkswagen Passat TDI

Uber Facing Lawsuits From Uber Drivers Over Tips

 

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The poster child for the “gig economy” is Uber. Since arriving on the scene, it has been the held as the standard for people looking to work side jobs to make extra money. Uber has disrupted the taxi industry through the world with their “democratizing” effect on driving taxis. No longer will a medallion and a hack license be needed. Through Uber the only requirements to drive a taxi are a car and insurance. The company advertises the possibility of making good money while at the same time providing the flexibility to a full time worker to keep their job or work other side jobs. They claim they are not an employer, but a platform that acts as a meeting place for workers and the company. In recent years, Uber has been the subject of various lawsuits and fights. Regulators are looking closely at the company’s operations and there has been some complaints and forthcoming litigation from Uber drivers about their compensation package. People who work with those kinds of companies are in a kind of limbo because their roles are not completely defined. In some ways, they are regarded as freelance or independent contractors because of the flexibility the employers provide. However, people who work for those kinds of companies claim their expenses aren’t reimbursed and they are required to go above and beyond what an independent contractor is supposed to do.

Some Uber drivers have echoed this complaint and have filed a class action lawsuit against the company. They are alleging Uber has not reimbursed them for expenses like gas, vehicle maintenance, and misrepresenting the drivers receive a tip when that is not the case. A trial has been set for June 2016 and the plaintiffs are pushing for change in the company’s practices. These types of lawsuits fall under the Wage & Hour section of the law. There has been an increase in litigation regarding issues like wrongful termination and wage loss in recent years. The ascendancy of the gig economy and companies like Uber and the effects of the recession has put the spotlight back on employment law issues. As the trial date approaches, the whole world will be watching because the repercussions will extend to numerous parts of society. Since Uber, other companies have developed similar models for other parts of labor and will have to look at how they do things when the decision of this case gets handed down.

http://uberlawsuit.com/

 

General Motors, Hyundai, and Kia Faulty Ignition Switch Lawsuits

ignition with key
Several car companies have been taking hits in the courts of law recently. General Motors is in the middle of litigation pertaining to faulty ignition switches. In addition, Hyundai and Kia have reached preliminary settlements related to lawsuits over misstated fuel-economy figures for certain car models from 2011-2013.

For a full list of affected models, you can visit https://kiampginfo.com/overview/affected-models (Kia) and https://hyundaimpginfo.com/customerinfo/affected-models (Hyundai).

According to Automobile Magazine, the two settlements would total approximately $395 million. If approved, individuals would receive slightly over $700 under the gas improvement program.

In a stroke of good luck for General Motors, a federal judge ruled that the company could not be sued over death and injury claims related to defective ignition switches. The reasoning behind this is because the 2009 government takeover shields them from liability pertaining to previous actions.

Even though GM setup a victims’ compensation fund, this was a big blow to the victims and their families who were in the process of pursuing justice. The plaintiffs may still have a shot depending on what happens in appeals court.

Photo Credit: Start Me Up by Jeff Golden


Written by Lulaine Compere

Arab Bank, PLC Liable for Israel Suicide Bombings

Arab Bank, PLC
A United States jury found Arab Bank, PLC, based in Jordan, liable for knowingly giving assistance to the U.S. State Department designated terrorist group Hamas. According to the Wall Street Journal, the bank is the largest financial institution in the country and one of the largest in the Middle East.

Close to 300 Americans were victims or relatives of victims of Hamas linked attacks in Israel between 2001 and 2004. Observers of the case claim its verdict may open the door for more litigation under the Antiterrorism Act of 1990, which allows United States victims of international terrorism to pursue recourse in federal court.

Arab Bank is the first bank facing trial under the U.S. Antiterrorism Act. The bank transferred money to operatives, functioning as a conduit between several charities that funneled money to Hamas and handling death benefits for families of suicide bombers from a Saudi charity group (Saudi Committee in Support of the Intifada Al Quds). According to some news stories, Arab Bank is planning to appeal the verdict, but a separate trial will take place to determine the damages.

In a separate case, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New York reinstated a similar lawsuit against National Westminster Bank where 200 Americans were victims of an alleged Hamas attack in Israel.

Photo Credit: jo.schz via Compfight cc


 

Written by Lulaine Compere

Lawsuit Alleges Brooklyn Center for Disabled Adults Mistreated Minorities

golden scales of justice
The New York Daily News reported The Northern Adult Daily Health Center in Brooklyn is facing a lawsuit because of allegations of racism made by some of their employees. The employees claim the center discriminated against minority residents and treated them differently from white residents.

According to the news story, an African American man was forced to dress up as Michael Jackson to amuse the other residents. The plaintiffs claimed they were retaliated against after complaining about the treatment the minority residents were receiving. Federal authorities will continue to monitor this civil case.

To read the article in full, visit http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/brooklyn-center-disabled-adults-mistreated-blacks-hispanics-suit-article-1.1939002

Photo Credit: StockMonkeys.com via Compfight cc


 

Written by Lulaine Compere

Bellwether Trial against Johnson and Johnson’s DePuy Orthopedics Progresses

hip replacement
The first trial concerning Johnson and Johnson’s faulty DePuy Pinnacle MDL hip replacement devices began earlier this month in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas. This bellwether trial centers on the case of a 58-year-old Montana woman who has experienced a number of complications directly stemming from the DePuy hip replacement system. This lawsuit intends to prove that the plaintiff was exposed to metal debris during the insertion of the DePuy product, and as a result of this exposure, the plaintiff has suffered a variety of other serious complications.

In this third week of the trial, a vice president from DePuy Orthopedics will be testifying about the safety precautions that DePuy claims to have taken in regards to its Pinnacle product. An attorney for the company has previously stated that the hip replacement products work “99.9% of the time.”

At present, there have been over 6,000 federal MDL lawsuits filed against J&J’s DePuy Orthopedics division because of its Pinnacle hip product; the plaintiffs who filed these suits would most certainly disagree with the claims that this product works 99.9% of the time. Reasons for filing suit vary from claimant to claimant, but side effects and complications that these plaintiffs have experienced include (but are not limited to) metal poisoning, kidney and bladder cancers, and dead tissue or bone loss around the joint.

Over 93,000 individuals worldwide have had DePuy’s artificial hip installed during the 8 year period that it was on the market. It was recalled in 2010 after the FDA received hundreds of complaints from patients who were suffering after the devices failed. Since then, thousands of other complaints have been accumulated from patients who also experienced device failure, had to go through additional surgeries due to premature device failure, or suffered complications because of the device.

Photo Credit: Hey Paul Studios via Compfight cc


Written by Shayna Keyles

Animators Bring Anti-Trust Case Against Disney, DreamWorks

Disney
In a rather animated new debate, California-based film companies, including Walt Disney Co. & DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. are being sued in a wage-fixing antitrust case.

Plaintiffs in the case are accusing the companies of colluding not to hire software engineers, animators, and other digital artists that are currently or have previously been employed at one of the other companies in question. Employees claimed they have been harmed by this agreement, which effectively stamps out competitive wages. Tech giants such as Apple, Google, and Adobe are facing a similar suit for similar claims.

Indeed, Apple plays a large part in the animation antitrust suit. The claims being contested began in the 1980s, when George Lucas of Star Wars fame sold his computer animation division to Steve Jobs’ Pixar. Lucas and Pixar President Edwin Catmull allegedly reached an agreement not to seek out each other’s employees. This agreement eventually expanded to include other animated film studios, including two branches of Sony Corp, ImageMovers, Digital Domain 3.0, and those mentioned above.

While Catmull claims that this collusion has been a boon for business in Northern California – in 2007, he is quoted as saying that wars have been avoided because of these agreements. However, animators who have been affected by the collusion feel they have been cheated. According to the complaint filed, digital artists and software engineers have been denied opportunity to express their creative talents, gain international recognition for their work, and cash out on their artistic visions.

Photo Credit: Express Monorail via Compfight cc


 

Written by Shayna Keyles