Our lawyers are helping victims file a CPAP lawsuit who have cancer, respiratory complications, or other injuries from their defective CPAP that was subject to a recall.
A rapidly growing number of CPAP machine lawsuits have been filed since Philips recalled millions of CPAP devices used for sleep apnea after discovering that users were inhaling toxic foam particles. Many more CPAP recall lawsuits have been filed against Philips and have been consolidated into the CPAP class-action MDL.
This post will look at the Philips recall lawsuit and the types of health conditions or injuries that are potentially linked to the recalled Philips CPAP machines. Our lawyers also
- estimate expected CPAP settlement amounts
- review settlements and verdicts in prior CPAP-related lawsuits.
- Provide the latest CPAP litigation updates
Our lawyers last updated this page on January 18, 2023.
- November 2022 CPAP Litigation Update
- Our speculation on CPAP settlement amounts (video)
- CPAP Cancer Lawsuits
Philips CPAP Recall
Phillips Respironics develops and manufactures positive airway pressure devices for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (“OSA”). Our lawyers were surprised with this litigation started how many people have sleep apnea: almost a quarter of the adult population.
When a patient suffers from OSA, the throat muscles relax during sleep so much that the surrounding tissue collapses. This narrows the airway for oxygen. When the patient inhales, the suction of the inhaled breath causes the narrowed airway to close completely. This renders the patient unable to breathe (i.e., the apnea). So a functional CPAP that does not cause other diseases is essential for many Americans.
Philips initiated a major safety recall in June 2021 for nearly all of its Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) and BiLevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) devices. The recall included an estimated 1.5 million devices used for the treatment of sleep apnea, including the very popular DreamStation line of CPAP devices.
Philips launched the recall based on evidence that the PE-PUR sound abatement foam used in the devices was breaking down, causing users to inhale tiny foam particles.
The particles from the foam contained several chemicals that are known to be toxic and carcinogenic. Potential health hazards from inhaling these foam particles could include airway inflammation, damage to the kidney, liver, and other organs, and cancer in the lungs or respiratory tract.
CPAP Recall Lawsuits
The CPAP safety recall has led to a wave of product liability and consumer class action lawsuits against Philips by users of the recalled devices. The lawsuits allege that Philips was aware of a problem with foam particles being inhaled for years. But the company did nothing about it.
Many of the plaintiffs who are now suing Philips are claiming that inhaling the chemical particles from the PE-PUR foam caused them to develop serious health conditions, including lung and kidney damage.
CPAP Class Action Lawsuit
In response to this growing tide of lawsuits, a new class-action MDL was created in the Western District of Pennsylvania for the consolidated handling of all future Philips CPAP lawsuits in federal court. This means that there will be a consolidated discovery phase, test trials, and eventually a global settlement with Philips.
Based on prior global settlements in similar mass torts, our CPAP lawyers think that the likely settlement payout on Philips CPAP claims will be $150,000 to $250,000 for cases in the highest settlement tier and $75,000 to $150,000 for cases in the next tier down. CPAP cases in the lowest tier could have a payout value of $10,000 to $75,000.
Below we put these CPAP settlement compensation payout projections in context with the appropriate caveats.
Health Problems Linked to Recalled CPAP Machines
The Philips CPAP machines were recalled because chemical particles in the sound abatement foam were being inhaled by users as they slept. Many of the chemicals in these foam particles are known to be toxic to the human body and some have been shown to cause cancer and respiratory complications.
At this stage, however, we don’t know for certain exactly what health problems or complications will be scientifically linked to the inhalation of toxic foam particles in recalled CPAP machines. Studies and research into this question are currently underway. Due to the prolonged latency period before certain diseases like cancer appear, it may be years before we get definitive answers on certain things such as whether the defective CPAP machines can be linked to cancer.
In the meantime, however, there is enough preliminary evidence to support allegations in civil litigation that the recalled CPAP machines may have caused certain health conditions. The health conditions that are being alleged in CPAP recall lawsuits include:
- Serious injury or chronic condition involving inflammation of the ear, eye, nose, throat, sinus, or oral cavity including nodules, cysts, and tumors
- Respiratory failure
- Acute Respiratory Distress System (ARDS)
- Recurrent Pneumonia
- Pleural Effusion
- Acute kidney injury
- Lung or Liver Disease
- Reactive Airway Disease (RAD)
Based on existing studies on the health effects of the specific chemicals in the CPAP foam, there is also preliminary evidence of an association between the use of the recalled CPAP devices and higher rates of certain types of cancer. The types of cancer that could potentially be linked to recalled CPAP machines vary depending on the length of time that the individual used the CPAP machine.
6 Months of CPAP Use:
The initial evidence we have suggests that 6-month of inhaling the chemical foam particles from a recalled CPAP machine could be linked to increased rates of cancers involving the blood, lymph nodes, mouth, and throat. This would include
- Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
- Bone Marrow Cancer
- Esophageal Cancer
- Hematopoietic Cancer
- Laryngeal Cancer
- Multiple Myeloma
- Nasal Cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Soft Palate Cancer
- Sinus Cancer
- Throat Cancer
- Tonsil Cancer
2 Years of CPAP Use:
Using a recalled CPAP machine for a period of 2-years or longer could be linked to cancers involving the thyroid or related organs. This includes both thyroid cancer and papillary cancer.
5 Years of CPAP Use:
The use of a recalled CPAP machine for 5 years or longer can potentially be linked to cancers involving the major organs. Specific cancer types in this causation category include
- Bladder Cancer
- Brain Cancer
- Colon Cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Liver Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Rectal Cancer
- Skin Cancer
- Stomach Cancer
- Testicular Cancer
The long-term consequences of polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) foam are not something that has received a great deal of research. So the science on the harms CPAP can cause will evolve. There will be many patients to evaluate. Over 15 million – 15 million! – DreamStation, CPAP, and BiPAP machines sold from 2009-2021 have been recalled.
Estimated Settlement Value of CPAP Lawsuits
At this stage, none of the CPAP recall lawsuits have been resolved so we don’t know for certain what their settlement value may be. Now that the CPAP lawsuits are consolidated into an MDL, they will eventually be resolved in a global settlement common in most mass tort cases. The cases in the class-action MDL will proceed through a period of discovery after which a handful of cases will be selected for bellwether test trials. Based on the results of these test trials, Philips will negotiate a lump sum payment to resolve all remaining claims.
Despite numerous variables that will impact the settlement value of CPAP cases, we can come up with an educated guess as to their eventual value based on settlement payouts in prior mass torts.
What Is the Average CPAP Settlement Amount Your Lawyers Expect?
Based on these comparisons, our lawyers believe the likely settlement payout for Philips CPAP claims will be as follows:
Settlement Tier Estimated Settlement
Tier I $150,000 – $250,000
Tier II $75,000 – $150,000
Tier III $10,000 – $75,000[/sc_fs_faq] Are these settlement amount projections accurate? Again, that remains to be seen. But it is worth pointing out that our lawyers revised our settlement compensation payout projections up in August 2022 because plaintiffs’ experts appear strong and able to deliver testimony that links up many of the injuries attributed to CPAP.
CPAP Settlements and Verdicts
The recent Philips CPAP recall lawsuit has gotten lawyers focused on CPAP machines, how they work, and the risks associated with them. Below are summaries of settlements and verdicts in prior CPAP-related lawsuits. These are not related to the Philips recall, but they are still informative.
- 2020, South Carolina: $485,000 Settlement. An 80-year-old man was hospitalized for a foot infection. He was outfitted with a CPAP machine and a pulse oximeter. Three weeks later, the man was found unresponsive. He suffered cardiac arrest for ten minutes, an anoxic brain injury, and oxygen deprivation. The man never regained consciousness. His family hired a lawyer and alleged that the hospital staff’s negligence caused his death. They claimed they failed to timely monitor and respond to the CPAP and pulse oximeter alarms. This case settled for $485,000.
- 2018, Louisiana: $300,000 Verdict. A 58-year-old obese man suffered lumbar pain. He presented to the hospital. The hospital staff suspected a spinal abscess. The man underwent an MRI. During the procedure, he stopped breathing. A pulmonologist and ER physician attempted to resuscitate him. They were unsuccessful. The man died as a result. His family alleged negligence against the hospital. They claimed its staff failed to appreciate the fact that the man was CPAP-dependent before positioning him for the MRI. The family argued that they should have intubated him. A jury found the hospital negligent but not the pulmonologist. They were awarded $300,000.
- 2016, Ohio: $1,200,000 Settlement. A 76-year-old woman felt ill while undergoing an MRI. The MRI facility staff called 911. The woman went into cardiopulmonary arrest in the ambulance. She became unresponsive. The EMTs performed CPR. The woman was at the hospital two days later. Her cause of death was an anoxic brain injury. The woman’s family alleged negligence against the City of Columbus. They claimed the EMTs failed to properly address her respiratory distress. The family argued that they should have used a CPAP machine and administered furosemide and albuterol. This case settled for $1,200,000.
- 2012, Alabama: $15,000,000 Verdict. A 45-year-old woman underwent a cardiac bypass. Following the procedure, the woman underwent CPAP ventilation. An arterial blood gas revealed mild acidosis and slightly elevated carbon dioxide levels. The woman then underwent ventilation. The anesthesiologist ordered the administration of Propofol. The woman eventually went into cardiac arrest. An ER physician attempted to resuscitate her with high adrenaline doses and closed-chest massages. The woman died several minutes later. Her family alleged negligence against the hospital. They claimed its staff administered a high Propofol dose, failed to mechanically ventilate her, improperly monitored her, and failed to call for additional help. The jury awarded $15,000,000.
- 2011, Massachusetts: $1,200,000 Settlement. A 60-year-old man with sleep apnea underwent a knee replacement. He suffered no complications. Following the procedure, the man treated his pain with epidural analgesia, Dilaudid, and Nubain. He eventually underwent doses of Oxycontin, Bupivacaine, Neurontin, and Dilaudid. The following day, the man could not move. He received a continuous positive motion device applied to at least one of his legs. The CPAP machine was not turned on while the man slept. He was not breathing thirty minutes after falling asleep. The hospital staff attempted to resuscitate him. They were unsuccessful. The man failed to regain consciousness. His family alleged that the hospital staff’s negligence caused his death. They claimed they failed to turn on the man’s CPAP machine and appreciate his sleep apnea risk. The defense disputed whether failing to turn on the device violated the standard of care. This case settled for $1,200,000.
Can I Use These Settlements to Determine the Payout in My CPAP Lawsuit?
You really cannot use these CPAP settlements to estimate the settlement compensation payout in your Philips CPAP recall lawsuit because it is comparing apples to oranges. Our lawyers do speculate as to the CPAP settlement payout amounts elsewhere.
What Is the Single Biggest Challenge Victim Face in Their CPAP Lawsuits?
It is still early in the CPAP sleep apnea litigation. Our lawyers expect there will be good evidence victims suffered respiratory injuries and cancer as the result of Philips’ negligence. The bigger challenge will be linking up negligence with specific injuries and cancers. CPAP victims need to show not only that Philips was negligent but that its negligence was a substantial contributing cause to the harm that was caused. But, so far, plaintiffs have been able to find great medical experts who have done a great job of providing the science that links up many injuries to the CPAP.
Our lawyers believe modern science will link many different types of cancers that have been attributed to the Philips CPAP recall in the class action lawsuit. But not all of them. The same is true for respiratory injuries.
CPAP Recall Litigation Updates
January 2023 Update
- The Western District of Pennsylvania has finally created a webpage for the Philips CPAP recall class action MDL. The new webpage has Court Orders and documents related to the litigation.
- In other news, Braverman v. Koninklijke Philips N.V., et al. (22-cv-7927) was filed at the end of 2022. This lawsuit is of note because it is one of the first Philip CPAP recall lawsuits we have seen involving oral cancer. The plaintiff claims that he developed mouth and tongue cancer after years of using recalled Philips CPAP devices. His lawsuit asserts that his cancer was caused by exposure to carcinogenic foam particles in the CAP machines.
- As of January 17, 2023, there are 358 CPAP lawsuits pending in the Philips CPAP recall MDL. This is an increase of just three new cases over the last month. Thousands of potential claims have been parked on the claim registry. If the judge ever ends the registry, and there is no telling if or when that will happen, you will see a flood of newly filed CPAP recall lawsuits.
December 2022 Update
According to a recent report from the New York Times, lawyers for the Justice Department are planning to force Philips to enter into a consent decree as part of the continuing fallout from the CPAP recall. The consent decree would require Philips to accept blame for events that led to the CPAP recall and adopt a plan for avoiding similar problems in the future.
The fact that DOJ is talking about a consent decree underscores the very serious concerns that have been raised by the FDA investigation which revealed that Philips knew about the problems with the toxic foam in their CPAP devices years before the recall.
September 2022 CPAP Class Action Lawsuit Update
The Philips CPAP class action judge created a census registry for prospective plaintiffs. This allows people seeking to bring a CPAP claim to file claims and toll their statute of limitations without having to bring an actual lawsuit in court. The claim registry system is similar to that used in the Zantac MDL and it will provide useful information about the number of potential CPAP plaintiffs and the nature of their injuries.
August 2022 CPAP Class Action Lawsuit Update
- Science Day in the CPAP class action lawsuit is set for September 1, 2022. Science Day – Judge Conti calls it Science Show-and-Tell – is a staple of most MDL class actions. It gives lawyers on both sides the opportunity to educate the judge on the medical and scientific questions that will come before the court.
- This month, the FDA issued a public update on the status of the Philips CPAP recall. Between May 1st and July 31st, the FDA received 48,000 new adverse events reports involving injuries believed to be related to the breakdown of sound foam particles in the recalled Philips CPAP and BiPAP devices. This included 44 new reported deaths related to the Philips devices, bringing the total number of REPORTED- emphasis on reported – CPAP-related fatalities up to 168.
July 2022 CPAP Class Action Lawsuit Update
The judge in the Philips CPAP Recall MDL, Hon. Joy Flowers Conti, recently issued Pretrial Order #16 which appoints Retired Judge Diane M. Welsh as a Settlement Mediator. At first glance, this move appeared to indicate that Philips was looking for a quick CPAP settlement to resolve these CPAP lawsuits.
But not so fast. This is merely a formality required by Rule 16.2 of the Local Rules for the Western District of Pennsylvania, which obligates parties to participate in Court-sponsored ADR. The mediator appointment is being made in compliance with this Local Rule and not because of any expressed desire by Philips to negotiate a settlement.
Case Against Philips Getting Stronger
Evidence generated in discovery in many of the early CPAP recall lawsuits has revealed that Philips knew all about the problems with the sound foam degrading and being inhaled as early as 2018. In April 2018, one of Philip’s product engineers contact the foam supplier by email about customers complaining that the sound foam was shedding small particles into the airways of the machines. This email shows that Philip knew about the issue, but waited another 3 years to initiate the safety recall of its CPAP devices.
June 2022 CPAP Class Action Lawsuit Update
In the Philips CPAP Recall MDL, Judge Joy Flowers Conti recently issued an order imposing certain initial deadlines for the parties to submit joint proposals for handling various discovery matters. The judge is looking to move this litigation forward which is exactly what the victims want. Because the closer CPAP lawyers get to a trial date the greater the likelihood Philips offers reasonable settlement amounts to resolve the CPAP lawsuits.
These include a joint proposal for deposition rules and protocol (8/15), plaintiff fact sheet questionnaires and rules for implementation (7/8), and a joint proposed order governing the rules for written discovery requests (9/9).
May 2022 CPAP Class Action Lawsuit Update
The FDA opened the door to the possibility of requiring Philips to offer refunds to owners of a defective CPAP.
Why is the relevant to someone bringing a CPAP lawsuit? It just underscores how negligent Philips has been. The question in the CPAP lawsuit – and we have been saying this for Day 1 – is what injuries and deaths can be linked to CPAP? Because proving Philips was negligent will be easy.
In other CPAP recall lawsuit news, Philips is digging deeper into hot water with the FDA. Regulators from the FDA have by necessity been unusually involved in the recall process because Philips’ handling of the recall has been a concern.
In the most recent development, the FDA released information in May 2022 on adverse event reporting over the last 12 months submitted to the agency in connection with recalled CPAP machines.
These reports show that from April 2021 to April 2022, the FDA has received over 21,000 reports of adverse health events caused by toxic foam in the recalled CPAP machines. Health conditions reported to the FDA have included various types of cancer, pneumonia, infections, respiratory problems, and 124 deaths.
April 2022 CPAP Class Action Lawsuit Update
The end of March saw a flurry of activity in the Philips Recalled CPAP MDL, which as of March 16 had a total of 262 pending cases. The MDL Judge (Hon. Joy Flowers Conti) set a schedule for monthly status conferences moving forward. She also finalized her appointments to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee and issued an order establishing a common benefit fund and setting procedures for plaintiffs’ lawyers to submit time and expense requests to the fund.
March 2022 CPAP Class Action Update
The CPAP cases are now pushing forward with greater vigor now that the judge has picked the leadership committee charged with assembling the legal and medical arguments needed to make a claim.
February 2022 CPAP Class Action Update
The disaster of the defects in the CPAP and the amateur hour recall process has gotten the attention of the U.S. Senate. U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal is calling on the FDA to take action against Philips.
His complaint is the same complaint every reading this has: the company did not have a cohesive plan to administer this recall. This matters because it makes increases the temperature in the room and when it is hot, executives are more likely to tell their lawyers to offer reasonable settlement amounts to make the lawsuits go away.
December 2021 CPAP Class Action Update
On December 20, 2021, the judge assigned to the CPAP Recall MDL issued an order establishing the timeline and procedures by which she will screen candidates and make selections for appointment to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee for the MDL.
In an MDL class action like the CPAP lawsuits, the leadership appointment order is similar to a constitution that provides checks and balances between the MDL steering committee lawyers and other lawyers in the litigation. Because there are some powers that the CPAP victims’ attorney will have versus the court-appointed committee (although committee members also have clients as well, in most cases). This is important because the MDL steering committee might have interests that are diverse from individual plaintiffs in some cases.
Applications for appointments from CPAP lawyers are due by January 4, 2022. Judge Joy Flowers Conti will interview select candidates on January 27, 2022. The Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee is a panel of product liability attorneys from the plaintiffs’ side who make collective decisions on behalf of plaintiffs in the MDL. (March 2022 Update: Those 33 lawyers have been selected.)
December 2021 CPAP Class Action Update
The FDA recently announced the results of its investigation into Philips and the recall of millions of CPAP devices earlier this year. FDA inspectors reviewed internal documents, emails, and product testing reports to uncover what led to the CPAP recall and assess whether Philips complied with federal regulations.
According to the FDA’s investigation, there is solid evidence that Philips knew about the problems with the sound abatement foam for at least 6 years but deliberately decided not to take any action.
The FDA inspection cited numerous product tests and assessment reports dating back to 2016 which indicate that Philips employees knew about “issues and concerns related to potential foam degradation.” The FDA inspectors also cited numerous internal emails, some dating back to 2015, clearly showing that Philips staff were aware of the problem with the sound abatement foam.
November 2021 CPAP Class Action Update
The number of CPAP recall lawsuits being filed across the country has continued to steadily rise.
In response to this trend, the JPML last week ordered the creation of a new “class-action” CPAP Recall MDL. The new CPAP MDL has been assigned to Judge Joy Flowers Conti in the Western District of Pennsylvania.
All current and future CPAP lawsuits in the federal courts will now be transferred into the MDL for consolidated pre-trial proceedings under Judge Conti. Over the next 18-24 months the CPAP MDL will move through a consolidated discovery process followed by the selection of bellwether test trials.
Having a certified class action increases the likelihood of settlement in the CPAP lawsuits.
How Does a CPAP Machine Work?
CPAP machines work by delivering air from a hose into the patient’s mask while sleeping. The idea, and it is a good one, is that consistent airflow will help keep the airway open to fight sleep apnea for most people.
Who Is Philips?
Philips is a Dutch company that makes, markets, sells, and distributes products for sleep and home respiratory care. In particular, Philips focuses on CPAP and BiPAP devices for patients with sleep apnea.
Respironics is a medical supply company that is a subsidiary of Philips that it purchased in 2008. Respironics focuses on products that improve respiratory functions. Respironics is based in Pittsburgh, not far from the courthouse that houses all federal CPAP lawsuits. Today, the company is called Philips RS North America LLC.
Philips also puts out ventilator devices for patients with respiratory conditions. Those products have also been the subject of a recall.
Example CPAP Lawsuit
New York resident Mark Edwards became a plaintiff in the rapidly growing CPAP recall litigation against Philips. Edwards filed a product liability lawsuit against Philips on November 4, 2021.
The case was originally filed in New York and subsequently transferred into the CPAP Recall MDL in the Western District of Pennsylvania. This will be the path for any federal case filed anywhere in the U.S. So if you are in California or Florida, for example, and you file a CPAP lawsuit in the MDL, it will get transferred to Pennsylvania.
Edwards is one of the first handful of CPAP recall plaintiffs to allege actual physical injuries connected to his recalled CPAP device. Edwards purchased a Philips DreamStation machine for his sleep apnea in 2014 and used it every night until the device was recalled in June 2021.
In his Philips CPAP lawsuit, Edwards asserts that his asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, and a tumor in his throat were caused by the inhalation of foam particles from the DreamStation machine.
What If I Was a Smoker – Can I Bring a CPAP Lawsuit?
Let me be honest with you. If you smoked cigarettes while using a CPAP, your recall lawsuit is a lot tougher. Smoking will likely be reflected in the settlement amount you ultimately receive.
If you are a former smoker, that is one thing. But if you were smoking while using the CPAP… I’m not saying our law firm will not take the case if you were a smoker. But you need to know going in that your settlement amount will likely be less than other victims before you hire a lawyer. Because when settlement payouts are ultimately calculated, there is almost certain to be a big deduction in compensation for victims who smoked while suffering CPAP-related injuries.
How Long Do I Need to Have Used the CPAP to Bring a CPAP Recall Lawsuit?
To bring a Philips sleep apnea machine lawsuit with our attorneys, we required at least 6 months of use between 2009 and May 2021.
Call a CPAP Lawyer Today
There are deadlines to bring a CPAP lawsuit. If you miss the statute of limitations, your chances at a CPAP settlement will approach zero. Don’t let that happen to you. Call a CPAP lawyer today. If you want to call us, our law firm is taking these calls 24/7 at 800-553-8082, or reach out to us for a free consultation online.