Hot Court Issues
We want to look at any case involving serious injury or death. Below is a list of cases on which we are concentrating.
Personal Injury/Products Liability
Takata Airbag Recall – The largest automotive recall in history centers on the defective Takata airbags found in millions of vehicles manufactured by Honda, BMW, Chrysler, Daimler Trucks, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota. The defect results in shrapnel like metal shards and airbag components being propelled throughout the vehicle interior. This frequently results in lacerations and blunt force trauma that can cause injury or death. We would like to review any claim of injury or death. We are also handling Honda airbag cases with smaller injuries that normally would not qualify for claims under our usual review process, even an injury that does not appear to be permanent or life-threatening.
Truck Accidents – There are significant differences between handling an interstate trucking case and other wreck cases. It is imperative to have knowledge of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, technology, business practices, insurance coverages, and to have the ability to discover written and electronic records. Expert testimony is of utmost importance. accidents involving semi-trucks and passenger vehicles often result in serious injuries and wrongful death. Trucking companies and their insurance companies usually quickly send accident investigators to the scene of a truck accident to begin working to limit their liability in these situations. Our lawyers, staff, and in-house accident investigators immediately begin the important task of documenting and preserving the evidence. We would like to review any case involving catastrophic injury or death.
Defective Tires – Tire failure can result in a serious car crash and even a vehicle rollover accident, causing serious injury or death to vehicle occupants. Air, heat, and sunlight can cause the rubber in tires to break down. When a tire is defective, potentially serious problems like detreads and blowouts can occur long before the tire would be expected to wear out. If the tire failure is the result of design or manufacturing defects, and the manufacturer is aware of the problem, they have an obligation to alert consumers to the potential danger.
On-the-job Product Liability – Many times product claims arise from worker’s compensation claims. After we investigate the circumstances that caused the injuries, many times we discover a defective machine may be the cause of the injuries.
Product Liability – We continue to focus on accident cases involving automobiles, heavy equipment, and consumer products. Some of these auto cases involve single-vehicle crashes, while others involve multiple-vehicle accidents. We would like to review any case involving catastrophic injury or death.
Heavy Truck Product Liability Claims – Tractor-trailer and other heavy trucks are not required to contain many of the same protections for occupants as smaller passenger cars. They can contain dangerous defects putting the truck driver or passengers at risk of serious injury or death. These trucks many times have particularly weak roofs that crush in rollovers. The passenger compartments are often not protected by effective cab guards, and this allows loads to shift into the truck cab. We would like to review any case involving catastrophic injury or death.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect – Nursing homes are supposed to be in the business of providing skilled nursing care to elderly and disabled residents. Unfortunately, statistics indicate residents in nursing homes suffer abuse and neglect more and more frequently at the hands of nursing home corporations. In many cases, residents have died or have been severely abused because of neglect. They may suffer physical abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, or neglect. We are investigating cases involving serious injury or death resulting from nursing home abuse or neglect.
Pharma and Devices
Xarelto – Lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer Corp. over the blood thinner Xarelto have been consolidated in Lousiana federal court. Xarelto has been linked to serious side effects including internal bleeding, gastrointestinal bleeding, brain bleed, and death. The Xarelto lawsuits come on the heels of the recent $650 million Pradaxa settlement. Researchers linked Pradaxa, also a blood-thinning medication, to more than 500 deaths. Xarelto blood thinner litigation has been consolidated before U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon in the Eastern District of Lousiana, who presided over suits against Merck & Co. over its medication Vioxx. The Vioxx litigation resulted in a $4.85 billion settlement in 2007.
Talcum powder and ovarian cancer – As many as 2,200 cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed each year may have been caused by regular use of talcum powder. Talc is a mineral made of up various elements including magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. Talc is ground to make talcum powder, which is used to absorb moisture and is widely available in various products including baby powder and adult products including body and facial powder. Talc products used regularly in the genital area increase the risk of ovarian cancer. In February 2016, a jury found Johnson & Johnson knew of the cancer risks associated with its talc products but failed to warn consumers, and awarded the family of our client $72 million. She died of ovarian cancer after using J&J talc-containing products for more than 30 years.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) products for men have been linked to an increased risk of death, heart attack, and stroke. Researchers found men who used testosterone therapy were 30 percent more likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or die after three years of use. A second study found that men had a significant increase in the risk of heart attack and stroke in just the first 90 days of testosterone therapy use. Furthermore, men who started the study with clear, unobstructed coronary arteries were just as likely to have a heart attack, stroke or die as men who entered the study with established coronary artery disease. Testosterone therapy, such as the prescription topical treatments Androgel, Testim and Axiron, are used to help boost testosterone levels in men who have a deficiency of the male hormone. Symptoms of low testosterone include decreased libido and low energy.
Viagra – A preliminary study indicates the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra (sildenafil) may increase the risk of developing melanoma., the deadliest form of skin cancer. The study, published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal, analyzed data from nearly 26,000 men, 6 percent of whom had taken Viagra. The men who used Viagra at some point in their lives had about double the risk of developing melanoma compared to men who had never taken the drug. Men who were currently taking Viagra were at an 84 percent greater risk of developing melanoma. We are currently looking at cases involving men who are taking or have taken Viagra and were diagnosed with melanoma.
Risperdal and atypical antipsychotic drug used to treat schizophrenia and certain problems caused by bipolar disorder have been linked to the development of gynecomastia in boys and young men. Gynecomastia is a condition that causes boys to grow breasts. The drug is manufactured by Johnson & Johnson.
Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacement parts – The FDA has ordered a review of all metal-on-metal hip implants due to mounting patient complaints. Problems with metal-on-metal include, but are not limited to loosening, metallosis (i.e.: tissue or bone death), fracturing, and/or corrosion and fretting of these devices, which require revision surgery. Many patients that require revision surgery due to these devices suffer significant post-revision complications. We are investigating all cases involving metal-on-metal hip implants, including the DePuy Orthopaedics ASR XL Acetabular System and the DePuy ASR Hip Resufacing System, recalled in July 2012; the DePuy Pinnacle, the Zimmer Durom Cup, the Wright Conserve, and the Biomet M2A “38mm” and M2A-Magnum hip replacement systems, which have not been recalled. Reported problems include pain, swelling, and problems walking.
Invokana – Approved in March 2013, Ivonkana (canagliflozin) is an SGLT2 Inhibitor used to treat adults with Type 2 diabetes, manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary, of Johnson & Johnson. SGLT2 inhibitors work by preventing high blood sugar by helping the patient’s kidneys remove excess sugar through their urine. In May 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning the drug has been linked to cases of ketoacidosis, a serious condition where there is too much acid in the blood. Complications of diabetic ketoacidosis include difficulty breathing, nausea/vomiting, abdominal pain, confusion and unusual fatigue or sleepiness. The condition can lead to diabetic coma and/or death.
3M Bair Hugger – The 3M Bair Hugger is a force hot air warming blanket, used primarily to help maintain a patient’s body temperature during surgery. The 3M Bair Hugger pushes warm through a flexible hose into a blanket draped over a patient. However, warming blankets can recirculate contaminated air over a patient’s body, including over an open surgical site. This may result in infections like MRSA or sepsis. In particular, patients undergoing knee or hip replacement surgery are at risk of infections deep in the joint, which is very difficult to treat. Complications from these infections include hospitalization, implant revision surgery, limited mobility, permanent disability, amputation, and death.
IVC Filters – Retrievable IVC filters are wire devices implanted in the vena cava, the body’s largest vein, to stop blood clots from reaching the heart and lungs. These devices are used when blood thinners are not an option. Manufacturers include Bard, Cook and Johnson & Johnson. While permanent IVC filters have been used since the 1960s with almost no reports of failure, retrievable IVC filters were introduced in 2003, promoted for use in bariatric surgery, trauma surgery and orthopedic surgery. Risks associated with the retrievable IVC filters include migration, fracture, and perforation, leading to embolism, organ damage and wrongful death.
Zofran – Manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, Zofran (ondansetron) was approved to treat nausea during chemotherapy and following surgery. Zofran (ondansetron) works by blocking serotonin in the areas of the brain that trigger nausea and vomiting. Between 2002 and 2004, GSK began promoting Zofran off-label for the treatment of morning sickness during pregnancy, despite the fact the drug has not been approved for pregnant women and there have been no well-controlled studies in pregnant women. the FDA has received nearly 500 reports of birth defects linked to Zofran. Birth defect risks include cleft palate and septal heart defects.
Proton Pump Inhibitors – Proton Pump inhibitors (PPIs) were introduced in the late 1980s for the treatment of an acid-related disorder of the upper gastrointestinal tract, including peptic ulcers and gastrointestinal reflux disorders, and are available as both prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Beasley Allen is currently investigating PPI-induced Acute Interstitial Nephritis (AIN), which is a condition where the spaces between the tubules of the kidney cells become inflamed. The injury appears to be more profound in individuals older than 60. While individuals who suffer from AIN can recover, most will suffer from some level of permanent kidney function loss. In rare cases, individuals suffering from PPI-induced AIN will require a kidney transplant.
Taxotere – Taxotere (docetaxel) is a chemotherapy drug approved for the treatment of breast cancer along with other forms of cancer. It is administered intravenously through a vein and is a member of a family of drugs called taxanes. In 2007, manufacturer Sanofi-Aventis issued a press release touting the efficacy of Taxotere-based on a clinical study. However, Sanofi-Aventis failed to inform the FDA, health care providers, and the public that permanent hair loss was observed in a number of the patients taking Taxotere. In December 2015, the FDA announced it had ordered Sanofi-Aventis to change Taxotere’s label to warn patients of the risk of permanent hair loss. While hair loss during chemotherapy is expected, patients undergoing chemotherapy with Taxotere were not warned they could potentially experience permanent hair loss. Permanent hair loss is an extremely debilitating condition, especially for women. We are currently investigating claims for women who suffered permanent hair loss following chemotherapy with Taxotere for breast cancer.
Physiomesh – Intended for hernia repair, Physiomesh is a flexible polypropylene mesh designed to reinforce the abdominal wall, preventing future hernias from occurring. Though there are several types of hernias, most occur when an organ or tissue protrudes through a weak spot in abdominal muscles. The condition often requires surgery where mesh, like Physiomesh, which is intended for laparoscopic use, is used to fill in a hole in the abdominal muscle or laid over or under it to prevent further protrusions. Independent studies have found Physiomesh to lead to high rates of complications including hernia reoccurrence, organ performation, mesh migration, spsis and even death. In May 2016, Ethicon issued a market withdrawal of Physiomesh in the U.S. and recalled the product in Europe and Australia. We are currently investigating cases involving serious injury or death because of Ethicon’s Physiomesh.
Life Insurance Fraud – We have uncovered alleged fraudulent accounting practices by life insurance companies concerning premium increases. The accounting method may result in the policyholder being charged excessive insurance premiums. A client that has a life insurance policy and has been notified of substantial increase in premium payments, or if they have been told their policy’s “cost of insurance” has increased, they may have a valuable legal claim that our firm would like to investigate.
False Claims Act / Whistleblower – We are handling and investigating whistleblower claims of government fraud ranging from Medicare/Medicaid to military contracts, and any other type of fraud involving a government contract. Under the False Claims Act (FCA), the whistleblower is entitled to a percentage of the recovery. Studies show that as much as 10 percent of Medicare/Medicaid charges are fraudulent. Common schemes involve double billing for the same service, inaccurately coding services, and billing for services not performed. Additionally, the Commission on Wartime Contracting has warned that the lack of oversight of government contrators has led to massive fraud and waste.
Self-funded Health and Pharmacy Insurance Plans – Third Party Administrators and Pharmacy Benefit Managers may have been charging unauthorized fees to self-funded insurance health and pharmacy benefit plans. These extra fees may be in violation of the contracts with the self-funded plan and a breach of fiduciary duty under ERISA. We are looking into these cases on behalf of self-funded plans.
Pharmaceutical Pricing – We are continuing to handle claims involving chain pharmacies falsely reporting their generic pricing transactions to state Medicaid agencies. This misconduct has led to millions of dollars in overpaymets by Medicaid agencies for generic drugs to the chain pharmacies.
Auto Defect Class Actions – We are continuing to work on numerous auto defect class actions against many of the major automobile manufacturers like VW, Toyota, General Motors, Ford and even some suppliers like Takata. These cases continue to be filed because of corporate misconduct in designing and manufacturing unsafe vehicles that are purchased by consumers corporations, and state agencies. We continue to investigate these automobile problems for class relief treatment.
Antitrust – We are handling claims related to the violation of federal and state antitrust laws. We are currently involved in claims alleging a wide array of anticompetitive conduct, including illegal tying, exclusive dealing, monopolization, and price fixing.
Health Care Fraud – We are looking into cases of fraud within the health care industry. These may include cases dealing with pricing, off-label prescriptions, or other health care abuse.
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) – We are working several cases involving Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violations. The FLSA cases are brought on behalf of clients whose job title is misclassified by their employers so that employees are not compensated for overtime worked. Cases may also include unequal pay, where women are paid less for doing the same job as men.
State and Municipalities Litigation – Our firm has represented numerous states throughout the country. These cases have been handled through the Attorneys General and have involved various civil actions. Many times, individuals are barred from bringing a consumer fraud type claim but the state government is not. We recently concluded litigation in six of eight states for a recovery dealing with medical fraud, with still two states remaining.
Employment Law – We are handling employment cases. Situations that may be addressed in this area include minimum wage and overtime pay, unfair labor practices, all types of discrimination, employee benefits, and whistleblower claims.
Mesothelioma – Mesothelioma is a highly aggressive and rare form of cancer usually affecting the lining of the lungs (pleural) or abdominal cavity (peritoneal). Occasionally, it also may affect the lining of the heart (pericardial). The only known cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. About 2,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the United States each year. For years, asbestos was widely used in many industrial products and in building constructions for insulation and fire protection. When asbestos is broken or distrubed, it can release microscopic fibers that can be inhaled or ingested, posing a health risk, including the development of asbestos diseases and mesothelioma.
Benzene – Benzene is widely used in a number of industries and products, yet many people remain unaware of the toxic danger of this chemical substance. Exposure to products contain benzene whether through inhalation or skin absorption, can cause life-threatening diseases including acute Myeloid leukemia (ALM), Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), lymphomas and aplastic Anemia. Some of these diseases do not manifest themselves until several years after exposure to benzene. Due to certain statute of limitations for bringing a claim of this nature it is important to contact us as soon as possible, if you believe your condition is a result of benzene exposure.
Severe Lung Disease – We are investigating numerous cases involving severe lung disease, including where a client has received any of the following diagnoses: any intersitial lung disease, pulmonary fibrosis (whether idiopathic or not), silicosis, black lung, bronchiolitis obliterans, sarcoidosis, berylliosis or chronic beryllium lung disease, metal lung disease, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, pneumoconiosis, and non-smoker’s lung cancer and emphysema. These are grave diseases that oftentimes result in either death or a lung transplant, and they are frequeently caused by exposure to dusts, fibers, metals, chemicals, vapors, food flavoring additives or other tiny particles in the workplace or because of a defective product. Often overlooked, these can be very good cases.
Round up/ Glyphosate Litigation – our firm is actively investigating cases where landscapers, farmers, groundskeepers or commercial gardeners used commercial grade round up and developed Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL). People across the country have file lawsuits after having been diagnosed with NHL after using Monsanto’s herbicide.
E-cigarette Explosions – We are handling cases involving e-cigarettes. In addition to concerns about toxic chemicals associated with the devices, we are currently investigating cases involving severe injuries caused by exploding e-cigarette devices and exploding e-cigarettes batteries. These explosions have been linked to faulty e-cigarette products, defective lithium-ion batteries, and insufficient warnings for users. With a few regulations to ensure their safety, e-cigarette devices have been aggressively marketed and sold in stores throughout the United States. Although these cases do involve personal injury including serious burn injuries.