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Judge denies settlement motion in NFL concussion lawsuit

admin » 14 January 2014 » In Legal News, Verdicts » No Comments

NFL_concussion

A federal judge denied preliminary approval of a $765 million settlement of NFL concussion claims, fearing it may not be enough to cover 20,000 retired players.

U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody asked for more financial information from the parties, a week after players’ lawyers filed a detailed payout plan for her review.

‘‘I am primarily concerned that not all retired NFL football players who ultimately receive a qualifying diagnosis or their (families) … will be paid,’’ Brody wrote in a 12-page opinion filed Tuesday morning.

The proposed settlement, negotiated over several months, is designed to last at least 65 years.

The awards would vary based on an ex-player’s age and diagnosis. A younger retiree with Lou Gehrig’s disease would get $5 million, those with serious dementia cases would get $3 million and an 80-year-old with early dementia would get $25,000.

Some critics have argued that the NFL, with more than $9 billion in annual revenues, was getting away lightly. But the players’ lawyers said they will face huge challenges just to get the case to trial. They would have to prove the injuries were linked to the players’ NFL service and should not be handled through league arbitration.

Layn R. Phillips, a former federal judge from California hired by Brody to lead settlement negotiations, had called the deal fair.

The NFL would also pay an additional $112 million to the players’ lawyers for their fees and expenses, for a total payout of nearly $900 million.

More than 4,500 former players have filed suit, some accusing the league of fraud for its handling of concussions. They include former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett and Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim McMahon, who suffers from dementia.

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Johnson & Johnson in Deal to Settle Hip Implant Lawsuits

admin » 20 November 2013 » In FDA, Legal News, Mass Tort, Verdicts » 2 Comments

Johnson & Johnson and lawyers for patients injured by a flawed hip implant announced a multibillion-dollar deal on Tuesday to settle thousands of lawsuits, but it was not clear whether the deal would satisfy enough claimants.

Under the agreement, the medical products giant would pay nearly $2.5 billion in compensation to an estimated 8,000 patients who have been forced to have the all-metal artificial hip removed and replaced with another device.

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Separately, the company has agreed to pay all medical costs related to such procedures, expenses that could raise the deal’s cost to Johnson & Johnson to $3 billion, people familiar with the proposal said.

Under the plan, the typical patient payment for pain and suffering caused by the device would be about $250,000 before legal fees. Based on standard agreements, plaintiffs’ lawyers would receive about one-third of the overall payout, or more than $800 million, with those who negotiated the plan emerging as big winners.

The proposed settlement, which was submitted on Tuesday to a federal judge in Toledo, Ohio, must receive the support of 94 percent of eligible claimants to go forward. Whether it will reach that goal is unclear. Some patients might decide to seek more through individual lawsuits. Some patients would receive relatively small payouts and others would see payments reduced because the plan imposes a user’s fee on awards based on how long a patient had the implant.

Some patients, many of whom suffered severe pain and injury from metallic debris generated by the device, spent years trying to convince doctors that there was a problem while Johnson & Johnson was denying one.

The now-recalled device, known as the Articular Surface Replacement, or A.S.R., ranks as one of the most-flawed medical implants sold in recent decades. The DePuy Orthopaedics division of Johnson & Johnson estimated in an internal document in 2011 that the device would fail within five years in 40 percent of the patients who received it.

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Bard Loses $2 Million Verdict in Vaginal-Mesh Trial

admin » 19 August 2013 » In Defective Products, FDA, Legal News, Verdicts » No Comments

C.R. Bard Inc. was told by a jury to pay $2 million to a woman who alleged the company hid flaws within some of its vaginal-mesh implants in the first federal trial of claims over the devices.

Jurors in Charleston, West Virginia, deliberated about 12 hours over two days before finding Murray Hill, New Jersey-based Bard liable for injuries Donna Cisson blamed on its Avaulta line of devices. The jury awarded $250,000 in compensatory damages for Cisson’s injuries plus $1.75 million in punitive damages.

Bard, based in Murray Hill, New Jersey, still faces more than 8,000 other claims over its Avaulta devices, which Cisson and other women allege can cause organ damage and make sexual intercourse painful when the devices erode. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Endo Health Solutions Inc. (ENDP) and Boston Scientific Corp. (BSX) face similar claims that their implants, threaded in place through vaginal incisions, shrink over time.

“This jury sent a message that Bard needs to change its ways,” Henry Garrard, one of Cisson’s lawyers, said after the punitive-damages verdict was announced. “The jury is telling them this kind of conduct won’t be tolerated.”

Bard officials said they dispute the jury’s finding that Cisson’s injuries were caused by the vaginal implant and will appeal.

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Pfizer Jury Awards $72 Million After Finding Prempro Caused Breast Cancer

admin » 06 December 2011 » In FDA, Legal News, Mass Tort, Verdicts » No Comments

Pfizer Jury Awards $72 Million After Finding Prempro Caused Breast Cancer

Pfizer Inc. (PFE) must pay $72.6 million in damages to three women who contended they developed breast cancer after taking the company’s menopause drugs, a Philadelphia jury decided.

Jurors in state court deliberated over two days before finding today that hormone-replacement drugs made by Pfizer’s Wyeth and Pharmacia Upjohn units were responsible for cancer in Susan Elfont, Bernadette Kalenkoski and Judy Mulderig. The panel awarded Elfont $20 million; Kalenkoski, $27.85 million; and Mulderig, $24.75 million.

“We are obviously disappointed with the verdict in this case, Chris Loder, a Pfizer spokesman, said in a written statement. “Once the verdict is finalized, the company will weigh its legal options to determine how it will continue with the case.”

More than 6 million women took Prempro and related menopause drugs to treat symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings before a 2002 study highlighted their links to cancer. Wyeth’s sales of the medicines, which are still on the market, topped $2 billion before the release of the Women’s Health Initiative, a National Institutes of Health-sponsored study.

Until 1995, many menopausal women combined Premarin, Wyeth’s estrogen-based drug, with progestin-laden Provera, made by Pfizer’s Upjohn unit, to relieve their symptoms. Wyeth combined the two hormones in its Prempro pill.

Prempro Accords

Pfizer announced in May it had settled a third of the pending Prempro cases filed against it and had set aside $772 million to help resolve the claims.

Elfont, 66, is a former teacher who once lived in Northeast Philadelphia, Tobi Millrood, a lawyer for the three women, said during the trial. She took Premarin and Provera for more than two years before being diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997, Millrood said.

Kalenkoski, 68, is a former nursing home aide who took Prempro for more than four years and was diagnosed with cancer in 2002, Millrood said.

Mulderig, 68, a retired teacher from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, took Premarin and Provera for 11 years starting in 1988.
Millrood told jurors that none of the three women had a family history of breast cancer and experts concluded the women’s use of menopause drugs helped lead to the development of the disease. Millrood today declined to comment immediately.

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Kugel Hernia Patch Lawsuit Results in $1.5M Verdict

admin » 25 August 2010 » In Mass Tort, Verdicts » No Comments

Kugel Hernia Patch Lawsuit Results in $1.5M Verdict

A Rhode Island jury has awarded a North Carolina couple $1.5 million in a Kugel hernia patch lawsuit, but the couple is objecting to the federal judge’s decision not to allow them to pursue punitive damages.

The verdict, handed down on Monday, is the second in a series of “bellwether” trials for Kugel patch litigation and the first loss for the defendants, Davol, Inc. and C.R. Bard, Inc.

The Kugel hernia patch lawsuit was brought by Christopher and Laura Thorpe, of North Carolina, who alleged that a defective Composix Kugel patch implanted in Christopher Thorpe broke and caused him to suffer internal injuries and a sepsis infection.

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Drug maker AstraZeneca to pay $520 million

admin » 28 April 2010 » In Defective Products, FDA, Mass Tort, Verdicts » No Comments

Drug maker AstraZeneca to pay $520 million

The federal government on Tuesday reached a $520 million settlement with pharmaceutical manufacturer AstraZeneca, resolving allegations of illegal marketing of the company’s antipsychotic drug Seroquel.

At a news conference, Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made the case a centerpiece of the federal government’s crackdown on health care fraud.

Emeritus News-AstraZeneca $520 Million Fraud Settlement

AstraZeneca allegedly marketed Seroquel for off-label uses — those not approved by federal drug regulators — including insomnia and psychiatric conditions other than schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

U.S. Attorney Michael Levy of Philadelphia, where the settlement was filed, said that the company had “turned patients into guinea pigs in an unsupervised drug test.”

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$2.6 million awarded in Chinese drywall suit

admin » 12 April 2010 » In Defective Products, Verdicts » No Comments

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$2.6 million awarded in Chinese drywall suit

The suffering may soon be over for some homeowners living with Chinese drywall.

A judge on Thursday awarded $2.6 million to seven Virginia families for damage to their homes caused by the sulfur-emitting drywall that corrodes electrical wiring, metal and more.

But the New Orleans federal judge took the case one step further by not only recommending that the drywall be removed, but also that the homes be gutted down to the studs, according to the Sun Sentinel.

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Pfizer Pleads Guilty to Illegal Marketing of Bextra

admin » 02 September 2009 » In Defective Products, Verdicts » No Comments

FDA PAINKILLERS

Pfizer Pleads Guilty to Illegal Marketing of Bextra

ou may remember something about the $2.3 billion that Pfizer said it is paying to settle a Justice Department probe into accusations of off-label marketing of painkiller Bextra, which is now off the market. That news was buried with the announcement in January that Pfizer was buying rival drug maker Wyeth.

Today the details of the settlement were released and they are harsh: Pfizer agreed to plead guilty to a felony violation “for misbranding Bextra with the intent to defraud or mislead.” The settlement is the largest in Justice Department history, according to the DOJ’s statement.

It will pay a criminal fine of just over $1 billion, which the DOJ says is the largest ever imposed in the U.S. for any reason. The company will also pay $1 billion to resolve civil allegations that the company illegally marketed Bextra, the psychiatric drug Geodon, antibiotic Zyvox and anti-epileptic drug Lyrica.

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Bausch & Lomb beats back lens-cleaner lawsuits

admin » 31 August 2009 » In Defective Products, Mass Tort, Verdicts » No Comments

Bausch & Lomb beats back lens-cleaner lawsuits

Bausch & Lomb Inc., rocked by the worldwide recall of its flagship contact lens solution in 2006, has beaten back scientific claims blaming ReNu with MoistureLoc cleaner for a flurry of non-fungal eye infections.

The optical products maker has already paid out more than $250 million to settle roughly 600 lawsuits linking MoistureLoc to a potentially blinding fungal infection known as Fusarium keratitis.

But after a hearing in New York in June on the admissibility of expert evidence, a federal judge in South Carolina said there’s no reliable scientific basis for arguing that MoistureLoc caused another 1,024 lens wearers across the United States to contract assorted bacterial, viral and parasitic infections.

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Jury awards punitive damages to smoker’s daughter

admin » 24 August 2009 » In Verdicts » No Comments

Jury awards punitive damages to smoker’s daughter

A jury on Monday recommended that cigarette maker Philip Morris USA should pay $13.8 million in punitive damages to the daughter of a longtime smoker who died of lung cancer.

The panel voted 9-3 in favor of Bullock’s daughter Jodie Bullock, who is now the plaintiff in the case. Betty Bullock died of lung cancer in February 2003.

She had sued Philip Morris in April 2001, accusing the company of fraud and product liability. A jury in 2002 recommended Philip Morris pay a record $28 billion in punitive damages to Bullock, but a judge later reduced the award to $28 million.

In 2008, the 2nd District Court of Appeal reversed the jury’s decision and remanded the case for a new trial over the punitive damages. Philip Morris said the $28 million remained excessive.

However, the original jury recommended the tobacco company pay Bullock $750,000 in damages and $100,000 for pain and suffering, a verdict that still stands.

In a statement, Richmond, Va.-based Altria Group Inc., which owns Philip Morris, said any amount given to Bullock’s daughter is unwarranted.

“After hearing weeks of improper arguments and evidence that violated state and federal law on punitive damages, the jury still managed to reject plaintiff’s patently unreasonable request,” said Murray Garnick, Altria Client Services senior vice president, speaking on behalf of Philip Morris. “Even so, we believe that any punitive damages award is unwarranted based on the facts in this case and that this award is unconstitutionally excessive.”

Defense attorney Frank P. Kelly said outside of court that Philip Morris hasn’t decided yet whether to appeal the decision.

Plaintiff’s attorney Michael Piuze said the jury’s verdict amounted to a “slap on the wrist for Philip Morris.”

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