Archive for Lawsuits

Minority Bar Owners Sue Racine Over Conspiracy and Corruption

Several minority business owners have filed a lawsuit against the city of Racine in Wisconsin for allegedly engaging in a conspiracy of racketeering and corruption to push minority bar owners from the downtown area of the city. The plaintiffs claim the Mayor, Council members, a former police chief, a business improvement district, the Racine Tavern League and the Downtown Racine Corporation were involved in the scheme.

According to a story by the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, the plaintiffs claim a “clean up” effort of the downtown area was meant to push them out and bring in white owners who would bring a different audience. Minority bar owners were threatened unless they made certain agreements.

Read the article in its entirety at

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Written by Lulaine Compere

Hospital Sued Over Unnecessary Heart Procedures

heart in hands recently reported that doctors at the King’s Daughters Medical Center performed unnecessary heart procedures on more than 500 patients. Lawsuits have been filed regarding the matter and the plaintiffs claim that the doctors at the facility misrepresented the severity of the situation so they could install stents and receive payment from different federal healthcare programs.

According to the story, a similar lawsuit has been filed against St. Joseph’s Hospital in London, KY. Read the story in its entirety at

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Written by Lulaine Compere

Bankruptcy Can’t Protect GM

Some Texas plaintiffs in GM faulty ignition cases who are concerned that they may not see reparations from their injury cases can look to attorney Bob Hilliard as a potential savoir.

Under bankruptcy law, GM may be protected from covering any liabilities that exist from before its filing. However, Hilliard will be meeting with GM’s compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg to discuss a plan that will ensure all victims could receive compensation.

Hilliard represents 53 plaintiffs who lost loved ones to GM vehicles with faulty ignition. The auto manufacturer only accepts responsibility for 13 deaths related to the vehicle defect.

Currently, affiliations such as the SEC, Justice Department, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Affiliation are investigating why it took GM over 10 years to recall approximately 2.6 million faulty vehicles which were known to have been defective since 2004.

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Written by Shayna Keyles

Surge of MTA Lawsuits Expected

Lawsuits are expected to be flying soon because of the Metro-North derailment that killed four passengers and injured 70 people. In addition to the deaths, the derailment caused mayhem on the commute for thousands of people.

A similar situation happened with the Staten Island Ferry and lawsuits took a while before they started ramping up. According to a Crain’s New York Business story, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the agency that is responsible for overseeing the Metro-North, has $420 million in insurance to cover its liabilities, but they claim they can cover any and all claims.

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Written by Lulaine Compere

High-Speed Trading Lawsuit

square of franklins
Ever since Michael Lewis’ book Flash Boy: A Wall Street Revolt hit the bookshelves, there has been a huge spotlight on the high-frequency trade industry. The 60 Minutes interview Lewis did before the book was released did not help matters at all. In that time, there was a huge debate on CNBC involving Lewis and one of the subjects from his book. People like Mark Cuban have come out and voiced their opinion on the unfairness of the industry.

The New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is launching an investigation and the United States Attorney General Eric Holder announced he is looking into the industry for insider trading. According to NBC News, the city of Providence, RI is suing some stock exchanges, brokerages, and high-frequency trading firms for manipulating the securities markets. Read the article in its entirety at

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Written by Lulaine Compere

Januvia: The Medication that Makes You Sick

sick womanImagine going to the doctor to receive treatment for diabetes, and leaving with a prescription for pancreatic cancer. This horrific scenario is all too relevant for those who were prescribed Januvia, a diabetes medication produced by Merck & Co and introduced to the market in 2006.

Januvia has been the subject of a series of lawsuits, launched by individual plaintiffs, alleging that Merck & Co over-promoted the drug, while simultaneously failing to warn doctors and patients of the potentially life-threatening side effects. Two recent cases demonstrating wrongful death as a result of taking Januvia serve to amplify the arsenal of accusations being lodged at Merck. One of these new lawsuits, launched from Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, involves a patient who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer within a year of starting Januvia. Another new case, which is being filed in Los Angeles, seeks to demonstrate that taking regularly administered doses of Januvia resulted in the plaintiff’s developing acute pancreatitis.

Presently, all Januvia cases are being tried as individual lawsuits. However, because of the growing number of claims being filed and the increase in reported cases of pancreatic complications, all Januvia litigation may be consolidated into a single multi-district litigation.

Januvia was approved by the FDA in 2006 to help control blood sugar levels for patients with Type 2 Diabetes. However, as a side effect of Januvia’s treatment, the drug was also found to cause pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, and other digestive ailments. A 2009 study conducted by UCLA demonstrated that Januvia is linked to increased risk for pancreatic abnormalities, including pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer. A second study showed that Januvia-takers were almost three times more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than those who took other diabetes medication.

Plaintiffs are suing on the basis that Januvia manufacturers were aware of the high risks associated with Januvia, and did not adequately warn patients or physicians. Plaintiffs also believe that Januvia’s uses were over-advertised, potentially leading to some unnecessary prescriptions. As a result of both of these events, many who have taken Januvia were subject to pain, injury, illness, and in some cases, death. Litigation against Merck & Co. seeks reparations for all those directly affected by taking Januvia.

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Written by Shayna Keyles

Ignition Switch Class Action is a Go

Shortly after the Center for Auto Safety released data indicating that over 300 car accident deaths occurred in recalled General Motors, LLC, models known to have malfunctioning ignition switches, a class action lawsuit was filed against the auto giant. The total recall included almost 1.4 million cars. The amount of car crashes not leading to fatalities was not a part of this data.

Plaintiffs, led by Daryl & Maria Brandt, are alleging that GM was aware of this ignition defect but hid it from public knowledge. According to their complaint, GM has been cognizant of the defects for at least ten years. Apparently, GM had received multiple reports of ignition troubles. GM did not issue a recall at this point, nor did it enact any measures to repair faulty vehicles. The company did, however, issue a warning on its website stating that a driver might experience ignition death while driving.

The class action plaintiffs are accusing GM of acting irresponsibly in light of its knowledge. They are seeking reparations for vehicle cost and time lost.

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Written by Shayna Keyles

More Securities Class Action Settlement Dollars in 2013

grey sports car
As the prominence of securities class actions has increased over the past few years, so too has the amount of settlement dollars recovered from such cases.

According to a report released by Cornerstone Research, a consulting agency dedicated to “economic and financial analysis of complex issues arising in commercial litigation and regulatory proceedings,” the total settlement recoveries from securities has increased by 47% from 2012 to 2013. This is likely correlated to the increase in securities class action lawsuits in general – 2012 saw 57 securities class actions, while 2013 saw 67. 2013 also saw six ‘mega settlements’, or settlements accruing at least $100 million, which accounted for 84% of all settlement funds.

In total, securities class actions brought in $4.8 billion, which is the greatest amount of settlement rewards attributed to securities class actions since 2007.

Despite these large returns, the median settlement amount has dropped 48% from the previous year, to $6.5 million. This is likely attributed to the 6 mega settlements, all pharmaceutical cases, of over $100 million, which act as outliers.

Joseph Grundfest, representing Stanford Law School’s Securities Class Action Clearinghouse, believes that the data from the past two years demonstrates that the financial crisis is coming to an end. Many of the settlements of the past year came from mortgage-backed securities cases. Since these cases are being settled now, the likelihood of future mortgage-backed securities is decreasing.

It is too early to predict how 2014 will fare for securities class actions, but Grundfest thinks that it can go either way. He says it all rests on how Halliburton Co. v. Erica P. John Fund settles, as that case could determine whether or not future investors will be limited in their efforts to see such class actions certified. In Grundfest’s words, “the future of such cases is up in the air.”

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Written by Shayna Keyles

The Evils of Baby Powder

baby footFor the 40% of American women who use talcum-based baby powder as a hygienic tool, it may be startling to find out that they are 24% more likely than others to develop ovarian cancer.

Data compiled from eight separate studies indicate that women who regularly use talcum powder for genital hygiene purposes “may face a 20 to 30 percent greater risk of developing ovarian cancer.” Other studies indicated that out of the 8,525 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, almost one fourth of them had regularly used talcum powder.

Johnson and Johnson is currently facing a series of lawsuits alleging that the company, which manufactures and distributes talc-based Shower to Shower and Johnson’s Baby Powder, failed to adequately warn consumers of the risks involved with using baby powder for genital hygiene. The first such suit in October, 2013, determined that Johnson and Johnson had known about the association between baby powder and ovarian cancer, but did not believe the risk was prevalent enough to issue any warnings.

The American Cancer Society, along with the research teams mentioned above, has begun warning women about the potential dangers of talcum powder. The risk for ovarian cancer increases when talcum particles travel into the body via genital cavities, which triggers inflammation and could further trigger a flourishing of cancer cells. This method of entry is similar to that of asbestos, which causes the lung cancer mesothelioma.

Research on the link between talc and ovarian cancer dates back to 1971, when researchers discovered that 75% of all ovarian tumors they had studied showed traces of embedded talc. Johnson and Johnson were aware of these results, but did not find them to be significant indicators of a high risk. However, according to Daniel Cramer, the medical expert who testified for the plaintiffs in the October, 2013 trial, the risks have been known for over 30 years, and talc may be a cause of around 10,000 cases of ovarian cancer per year.

At the present, a free class action lawsuit investigation has been launched against Johnson and Johnson. Women affected by talc usage may file claims and pursue damages on any diagnoses and medical bills. Claims can still be submitted.

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Written by Shayna Keyles

Dangerous Side Effects Bring Risperdal Back into the Spotlight

skull of pillsThe antipsychotic drug Risperdal will be subjected to legal scrutiny after a new study from the University of British Columbia demonstrated a connection between Risperdal usage and gynecomastia, or breast enlargement in men. This is not the first time that Risperdal has made the headlines for its questionable side effects.

In 2013, Janssen, the subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson responsible for development and distribution of Risperdal, was hit with a $2.2 billion penalty for failure to warn about certain side effects and for dangerous off-label usages. Manufacturers are forbidden by the FDA from promoting off-label uses of their products to doctors and pharmaceutical companies, yet Jannsen promoted the anti-schizophrenic drug for dementia treatment, bipolar treatment, and spectrum disorder treatment during periods when these treatments were not FDA approved.

Though the off-label usage of Risperdal for treating bipolar disorders was approved by the FDA in 2003, Janssen had been promoting such usage since 1999. Moreover, Janssen promoted the use of Risperdal to treat dementia, despite the fact that studies suggest Risperdal use amongst elderly patients correlates to a higher rate of stroke. Janssen also downplayed the occurrence of diabetes as a result of Risperdal use, though studies have shown Risperdal use causes increased risk of diabetes. Because Janssen did not disclose these risks to potential patients, it was subject to criminal charges and the $2.2 billion fee.

Now, in March 2014, Janssen faces an onslaught of lawsuits in light of the discovery that Risperdal users have a 69% higher chance than non-users of developing gynecomastia. Dr. Mahyar Etminan, one of the lead researchers in the Risperdal study, said that though the study was conducted primarily on older men, younger men and boys should also be subject to the same side effects. Other effects associated with gynecomastia include diabetes, weight gain, and sexual difficulties.

Over 200 lawsuits have been filed against Janssen alleging that Risperdal causes the aforementioned side effects. Researchers will continue to pursue case reports describing the dangerous side effects of Risperdal.

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Written by Shayna Keyles