United States of America

Xeljanz is a popular medication that is prescribed to treat patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ulcerative colitis. Xeljanz is the brand name for the drug Tofacitinib, which works by suppressing the patient’s immune system to help reduce inflammation in the body. Since its original release in 2012, this medication has exploded in popularity due to its placement of ads on television and in magazines.

Manufactured by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, the company has raked in over a billion dollars in profit off the hundreds of thousands of people use the drug. In February 2019, Pfizer was hit with an FDA safety warning that linked Xeljanz to an increased risk of blood clots in the lungs and overall death.  This has led to many lawyers, including us, to investigate potential Zeljanz lawsuits.

Months later, this forced Pfizer to put a black box warning on their drug label. This scares off doctors and patients. This is arguably why Pfizer did not suggest to the FDA adding this warning long ago. This warning is expected to put significant stress on the company’s profits as patients avoid the medication and file new failure to warn lawsuits. (The good news for Pfizer is that there warning will prevent many future lawsuits from being filed.)

A federal jury this week found that exposure to Roundup, the popular weed killer product, caused a California man to develop cancer.  How much money did they award?  They have not given an award because the case was bifurcated.  There will be another phase to determine damages.

In phase 2 of the trial in San Francisco, the jury determines Monsanto’s liability and decide how much money to award in damages. Hardeman v. Monsanto is the bellwether case for the Roundup MDL (what is an MDL?) which includes thousands of similar suits from federal courts around the country. The ultimate outcome of the Hardeman trial will dictate how the remaining Roundup cases are resolved and things are looking good for the plaintiffs so far.

The causation ruling in Hardeman comes on the heels of a landmark verdict in a Roundup case in California state court – Johnson v. Monsanto. That case ended in disaster for Monsanto with a verdict of $280 million for the plaintiff.

The biggest and latest trend that teenagers are turning to today is the new activity known as “juuling”. Teenagers are beginning to “juul” just about anywhere, whether it be at school, at work, on the street, or in their own home.

Juul is a company that manufactures a highly potent and discrete e-cigarette device, often advertised as a “safer alternative” to smoking. This trend, however, is turning out to be anything but safe and doctors worried about public health are about to lose their minds.  And the number of Juul lawsuits are growing by the day.

Juul Lawsuit and Marketing

Much of this blog is dedicated to giving you news on significant court cases that take place throughout the country. These cases are not your typical Judge Judy, small claims type deals; they are lawsuit3pretty important. Typically, big personal injury cases usually manifest themselves in class actions, Multi-district Litigation, and/or mass torts. Although these types of litigation have a lot in common, they are truly nuanced, meaning it takes an experienced attorney to fully comprehend how they work. But of course, it helps to have a basic understanding in the first place. Here is a little bit about how a mass tort works.

Mass Torts – The Basics

You cannot go around defining “mass tort” without defining “tort.” The law school definition of a tort is a “civil wrong,” committed by one person against another that results in injury. The most common tort that we as personal injury attorneys deal with is negligence. However, torts also include assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, trespass, and many more. In most tort cases there is one plaintiff suing one defendant. For example, in a trespass case, the property owner would be suing the trespasser. The same is true of car accident cases where you have the injured victim suing the negligent driver. Of course, the insurance company is usually brought in as a defendant too.

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An opioid settlement is coming.  How much money is in it for you?  If you have suffered, it is a fair question.  But this is a different kind of opioid settlement.

Thousands of counties, townships and local jurisdictions from across the country are currently suing a group of pharmaceutical companies that manufacture and sell prescription opioid painkillers. The local jurisdictions are seeking money to reimburse them for the billions of dollars they have been forced to spend in response to the opioid abuse epidemic. After months of little or no movement in this matter, reports came out last week suggesting that a global settlement proposal may finally be in the works.

The Scope of the Opioid Settlement

Under 42 Pa.C.S. §§ 8541 et seq., political subdivisions in Pennsylvania, including public schools, receive a broad degree of governmental immunity under Pennsylvania tort law. But there are specific exceptions. In the recent case of Brewington v Philadelphia School District, the state’s high court expanded the “real property exception” to governmental immunity.

Case Facts

A nine-year-old boy was engaged in a relay race during his gym class at a Philadelphia elementary school when he tripped and fell. As a result, he was propelled into the concrete gym wall where he hit and cut his head causing him to lose consciousness. Soon after, doctors diagnosed him with a concussion that prevented him from attending school for nearly two months after the incident and experienced continuing headaches and memory problems for years after. The gymnasium wall in its surrounding entirety lacked any kind of padding to cover the concrete and provide at least some degree of protection.

I like many GEICO adjusters and lawyers.  I like Warren Buffett.  But I don’t like GEICO. This new opinion by a California appellate court in Mazik v. GEICO after a jury slapped GEICO reminds me why.

Mazik v. GEICO Facts

The plaintiff suffered a crushing type of foot fracture of his left calcaneus (heel) in a car crash.  This is a tough injury. We can all agree that the value of an injury like this is more than $100,000, right?  The plaintiff received policy limits of $50,000 from the at-fault driver’s insurer.  The plaintiff sought an additional $50,000 from GEICO for underinsured motorist coverage (his policy was more than the at-fault driver).  The plaintiff accident attorney says he asked GEICO four times to pay the policy limits.  But GEICO refused.

backpainlowA verdicts and settlements database found that the median plaintiff’s verdict award for motor vehicle cases that involved back injuries is $212,500. For all car, truck, and motorcycle accident injury cases in the database that earned a plaintiff’s verdict, the median award is $300,000.

Sample Verdicts and Settlements in Back Injury Cases 2017-2019

I’m not writing many blog posts with an exclamation point in the title. But my goodness.

pesticide-239x300A jury in Oakland, California this week found Monsanto liable for yet another case of cancer and awarded a couple $2 billion plus more than $55 million total in compensatory damages! Alva and Alberta Pilliod are both in their 70s and have lived in Livermore, a town 40 miles east of San Francisco, for over 30 years.

While living there, they also used Roundup for more than 30 years to keep their home landscaped and unfortunately, both developed cancer. Alva was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2011 that started in his bones and soon spread to his pelvis and spine. Four years later, his wife Alberta was also diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma but hers was in her brain. Fortunately, they both survived and are currently in remission, but the cancer has had life-changing effects on both of their lives and they both have suffered lasting damage from it.

hernia mesh settlementsTo date, thousands of lawsuits related to defective hernia mesh implants have been filed in courts across the country. These suits claim that defective surgical implant devices were the cause of chronic pain, serious infections, obstructed bowels, perforated abdomen lining, and the development of adhesions. Some plaintiffs’ injuries were severe enough that they needed further surgeries to correct these issues.

The defendants in these lawsuits include, but are not limited to, Ethicon, C.R. Bard, and Atrium. The plaintiffs in these cases allege that the hernia mesh and patch implants were defectively designed which caused them to malfunction after being implanted in hernia repair surgery. At this point, none of these hernia mesh lawsuits have gone to trial or settled. However, an examination of prior settlements in similar cases suggests that hernia mesh plaintiffs can expect case values in the million dollar range.

What Is Hernia Mesh?