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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 mass tort lawsuitspretty 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 sue 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

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

roundup lawsuits verdictsA 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 over 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.

A recent study has reported that using antiepileptic drugs during pregnancy increases the likelihood of children developing Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in the future. It is hard to pretend that anyone is surprised by this.

What are AEDs?

antiepileptic drugs adhd children Anticonvulsants, commonly known as antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), are a class of drugs primarily used for epileptic seizures. They help decrease seizure frequency and severity. Known to function as mood stabilizers, AEDs are also used to treat mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. Examples of AEDs include valproates, Klonopin, and Topamax.

As you care for your little one, you should be mindful of everyday items in your home that can be a risk to their safety. Just because an item was made for babies, does not mean it is completely safe. Cribs and strollers can still be a safety risk to your baby. However, this means if you use them, use them safely.

  1. Strollers

Your baby’s stroller can be a significant risk to their safety. A Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report estimates there were 13,400 reported cases of stroller-related injuries that required a visit to the emergency room. Many of these injuries were caused by a fall or strangulation. Between 2012 and 2014, an average of two children died per year from stroller-related accidents. Many stroller-related injuries or deaths occur when infants are left to sleep while the stroller’s back is in the recline position.

The gadolinium contrast class action lawsuits took a hit last week when the MDL Panel denied class certification which would have consolidated all the federal court cases under one roof.  But I’m convinced there will be an MDL class action in the gadolinium contrast cases in the next year.  These deposition disease cases are still heating up in spite of this setback.

If you are a victim or a lawyer getting calls from clients, here are 7 things you need to know about the gadolinium contrast litigation.

  1. What are GBCAs?

A recently published California-based survey on mothers found that health care providers rarely listen to mothers about their birth preferences. Even worse, these providers seem to listen to black women the least. This suggests that black women in America do not receive the same quality of care as their white counterparts. A University of Virginia study seems to cement this case. It concluded that racial biases among white health care professionals are directly related to the standard of care provided to black patients.

I’m writing about this because this problem flows into medical malpractice cases where the victims are disproportionately black.

Results of the California Survey

According to a study conducted by Danish scientists, there is seemingly no increased short-term risk of cancer in patients who use valsartan contaminated with the impurity, N-nitrosodimethylamine or NDMA. This study, published in the BMJ, may put into question how serious of a cancer risk NDMA-contaminated valsartan may have. The Food and Drug Administration has recently issued voluntary recalls on Valsartan because of this potential cancer risk NDMA contamination may have.

The question many lawyers and victims have is will this impact the Valsartan lawsuits?  We answer this below.

How was the study conducted?

While smoking is commonly known to be extremely harmful to one’s health, most people associate smoking with lung cancer, emphysema, or even heart disease. However, there are other long-term health effects associated with smoking that scientists are just starting to understand.

Researchers in South Korea concluded that cigarette smoking increases one’s likelihood of getting dementia, while quitting or even smoking less can decrease one’s likelihood. This was based on a study they conducted on the relationship between smoking cessation and dementia.

The Study

Big update in the pelvic mesh lawsuits and it is not a good one.  A Texas jury yesterday found for Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) Ethicon division in a pelvic mesh casespelvic mesh claim.  Twelve Dallas jurors found that the Prosima pelvic mesh, given to women who suffer from pelvic organ prolapse, was not defective in its design and that J&J did not fail to properly inform doctors of the risks and problems associated with this product.   It was no slam dunk.  Unlike a lot of states, Texas does not require a unanimous verdict in civil cases.  So a 10-2 vote was good enough for J&J to eke out a win.

It is just one case, but I’m not going to lie, this was one the Plaintiffs’ wanted to win.  I’ll be honest about something else.  I’m surprised J&J let this case go to trial.  They have been picking off cases to avoid a bellwether effect on settlement value that is going to wildly increase the expectations of Plaintiffs and make these cases that much harder to settle.  On this one, they gambled and won.

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