Articles Posted in Products Liability

Transvaginal mesh is an implant typically manufactured with a plastic material called polypropylene.  The product was created to repair conditions such as pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence.  The mesh was used fairly commonly to treat women over the past two decades until several products were recalled in the summer of 2011.

Last month Federal District Judge Goodwin was tasked with a legally complex analysis regarding the applicability of punitive damages in the case against Boston Scientific.  While civil litigation is not typically fashioned to impose a penalty on defendants, under limited circumstances a civil defendant may be forced to pay punitive damages above and beyond the compensatory damages calculated to make the plaintiff whole.   These damages are often imposed when defendants had express, direct knowledge that their misconduct could cause injury, and continued the acts nonetheless.

In denying the Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment on the issue, Judge Goodwin concluded that a reasonable jury could find Boston Scientific acted with reckless and/or conscious disregard of the health and safety of its consumers, and therefore, summary judgment was inappropriate.   Judge Goodwin also concluded that a reasonable jury could find that the Defendant knew its product would probably cause injury to another person, and placed it in the stream of commerce anyway.

Just this week Boston Scientific Corporation, one of the pharmaceutical manufacturers of the propylene mesh product, disclosed in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it has agreed to settle nearly 3,000 cases and claims of women who were injured by the company’s mesh products for $119 million dollars.  A couple notable jury verdicts against Boston Scientific have resulted in $18.5 million and $26.7 million awards for plaintiffs.

Boston Scientific still faces more than 22,000 transvaginal mesh claims nationwide.   There are now more than 70,000 claims against pharmaceutical manufacturers for transvaginal mesh products.   A final number of around 100,000 claims are expected.   Bahe Cook Cantley & Nefzger is currently reviewing and accepting these cases on behalf of women injured by transvaginal mesh on a nationwide basis.

A trial in South Georgia concerning the death of a four year old boy is renewing debate over Jeep safety. Remington Walden died in the backseat of his family’s 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee when the car erupted in flames after being rear-ended at an intersection. The family’s lawyers allege that the carmaker has long been aware of the fatal defects that caused the child’s tragic and painful death, including the fuel tank placement just 11 inches from the rear bumper.

BCCN reported in October of 2009 that the Jeep Grand Cherokee fuel tank was 400% more likely to cause a fire and endanger or kill the vehicle’s occupants than other SUVs.  The Center for Auto Safety had at the time asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to recall all such cars made between 1993-2004, asserting that data showed that these cars were 4 times more likely to result in a fatal fire during a crash than other sport utility vehicles. The government currently links at least 70 deaths to these vehicles’ defects.

Fiat Chrysler recalled more than 1.5 million vehicles, including all 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty models as well as the ones suggested years earlier by the Center, under government pressure in June 2013. The company continues to insist that the vehicles met safety requirements at the time they were built, and that they were not defective. Sergio Marchionne, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO, stated in a deposition that the company believes that the cars are no more susceptible to fire than other SUVs.

BCCN is currently reviewing and accepting defective Jeep and SUV cases resulting in a fuel tank explosion on a nationwide basis.

A former engineer with Takata, the company now embroiled in a recall impacting major car manufacturers including Nissan, Honda, Ford, BMW, and more, has come forward to offer whistle-blowing testimony to the United States Congress regarding the company’s fatal and negligent practices.

Mark Lillie claims that the company had been warned that the ammonium nitrate they used in their designs was unstable and would result in catastrophic failure. Takata has been criticized for continuing to use the chemical compound in replacement designs. In addition, Lillie has said that airbag inflator plants were not up to standard and were unable to properly manage the ammonium nitrate-based airbag inflator design, lacking the expertise needed to create safe products.

More than 24 million cars have been recalled in the wake of the growing number of fatalities associated with the airbags.

 

Complete list of affected vehicles:

Acura: 2002–2003 TL; 2002 CL; 2003–2006 MDX

BMW: 2000–2005 3-series sedan and wagon; 2000–2006 3-series coupe and convertible; 2001–2006 M3 coupe and convertible

Chrysler: 2004–2008 Chrysler 300; 2007–2008 Aspen

Dodge/Ram: 2003–2008 Dodge Ram 1500; 2004–2008 Ram 2500, Dakota, and Durango; 2004–2007 Charger; 2004–2008 Ram 3500 and 4500; 2008 Ram 5500

Ford: 2004–2005 Ranger; 2005–2006 GT; 2005–2008 Mustang

Honda: 2001–2007 Accord (four-cylinder); 2001–2002 Accord (V-6); 2001–2005 Civic; 2002–2006 CR-V; 2002–2004 Odyssey; 2003–2011 Element; 2003–2007 Pilot; 2006 Ridgeline

Infiniti: 2001–2004 Infiniti I30/I35; 2002–2003 Infiniti QX4; 2003–2005 Infiniti FX35/FX45; 2006 Infiniti M35/M45

Lexus: 2002–2005 SC430

Mazda: 2004–2008 Mazda 6; 2006–2007 Mazdaspeed 6; 2004–2008 Mazda RX-8; 2004–2005 MPV; 2004 B-series

Mitsubishi: 2004–2005 Lancer; 2006–2007 Raider

Nissan: 2001–2003 Maxima; 2001–2004 Pathfinder; 2002–2006 Nissan Sentra

Pontiac: 2003–2005 Vibe

Saab: 2005 9-2X

Subaru: 2003–2005 Baja, Legacy, Outback; 2004–2005 Impreza, Impreza WRX, Impreza WRX STI

Toyota: 2002–2005 Toyota Corolla and Sequoia; 2003–2005 Matrix, Tundra

 

BCCN is part of a team of attorneys investigating claims against Takata, car manufacturers and dealerships. BCCN is currently reviewing and accepting cases on a nationwide basis.

Faulty air bags currently recalled by Takata are being blamed for the death of 35 year old Carlos Solis of Houston, TX. The airbags are reportedly responsible for at least five additional fatalities.

More than 20 million vehicles have been recalled due to the airbags; companies joining in the recall include Honda, BMW, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Ford, and Chrysler.

There is every indication that this recall has been inadequate to protect the millions of drivers who are at risk of death or injury due to this faulty equipment. BCCN is part of a team of attorneys investigating claims against Takata, car manufacturers and dealerships. BCCN is currently reviewing and accepting cases on a nationwide basis.

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Bahe Cook Cantley & Nefzger PLC partner Will Nefzger is handling cases involving Mavic R-Sys bicycle wheel failures.  The wheel spokes are made of carbon fiber composite.  Carbon fiber composite can and does fatigue over a relatively short period of time.  When the fatigue occurs, the spokes can and do fail.  When the spokes fail, the integrity of the entire wheel is compromised and results in its failure.  Obviously, a catastrophic wheel failure can lead to a crash and very serious injuries or death.
There are a couple of major problems with this.  First, Mavic does not warn its consumers that the spokes fatigue to the point of failure in a relatively short amount of time or give any instructions regarding changing the spokes after a certain amount of time due to fatigue.  Second, even though fatigued to the point of failure, the damage to the spokes often is undetectable.  Thus, a purchaser of the wheel has no notice of the potential problem and most likely will never be able to detect it on its own anyway.  Mavic markets and sells these wheels to casual riders, in addition to more serious riders and racers.
Will Nefzger is currently reviewing and accepting these cases from consumers that have been injured as a result of the failure of a Mavic R-Sys wheel.  He is accepting cases on a nationwide basis.

GM announced yesterday that nearly 3.4 million more vehicles will be recalled in light of its review of ignition switch issues following the first set of recalls affecting 2.6 million cars earlier this year. This move brings the total number of vehicles recalled by GM this year over 20 million.

GM admitted in February that its engineers first knew of the ignition switch issues as early as 2004, leading to an investigation into the nearly 11-year delay in recalling the faulty vehicles. Less than two weeks ago, GM announced its decision to dismiss 15 employees, and to discipline 5 additional employees, in wake of the three-month investigation by former federal prosecutor Anton Valuka. While Valuka’s report did not reveal a conspiracy by the corporation to cover up relevant facts over the 11 year delay, it did point to “a pattern of incompetence and neglect” throughout the company, especially in regards to the 20 employees the report found to be the most at fault.

At least thirteen deaths have been attributed to the faulty ignition switch, which can fall out of the “run” position while the vehicle is in operation, shutting down crucial safety features such as airbags. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has indicated that the number may, in fact, be much higher.

The company’s CEO, Mary Barra, has said that GM will voluntarily create a program to compensate those who have suffered injuries or death due to the defective cars, but she has not indicated how large that fund may be. According to GM president Dan Ammann, compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg will be in charge of determining who is eligible and to what extent. Feinberg will also be responsible for determining whether there have been more than 13 deaths caused by the defect.

GM is set to start accepting claims on August 1. Bahe, Cook, Cantley & Nefzger, PLC is currently seeking damages for a client who sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident caused by the faulty ignition and air bag deployment. We are also currently reviewing and accepting more of these claims.

Transvaginal mesh is an implant typically manufactured with a plastic material called polypropylene. The product was created to repair conditions such as pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. The mesh is inserted through the vagina in order to provide support for the pelvic organs in the case of pelvic organ prolapse, the vagina in the case of a hysterectomy, and/or the urethra in the case of stress urinary incontinence.

According to court documents, more than 50,000 transvaginal mesh lawsuits are not pending in several cases in U.S. District Court, Southern District of West Virginia. Manufacturers facing these mounting lawsuits include American Medical Systems, Boston Scientific, C.R. Bard, Cook Medical, Ethicon, Inc. and Coloplast. Endo International, PLC, without admitting fault or liability, agreed last month to pay $830 million to resolve legal claims of approximately 20,000 women who have been injured by transvaginal mesh devices.

Many of these lawsuits claim, among other things, that the transvaginal mesh products are defective in both their design and manufacture which has resulted in side effects such as mesh erosion, severe pain, infection and scarring. In many cases, the spouses of women who have experienced these complications are also bringing claims for loss of consortium.

Less than two weeks ago, two studies were presented at the American Urological Association’s annual meeting. These studies suggested that even when a woman has undergone surgical removal of a transvaginal mesh device, the injuries allegedly caused by these devices may be permanent. (medicalxpress.com/news/2014-05-faulty-mesh-incontinence-women-symptoms.html, HealthDay News, May 19, 2014). The first of these studies followed 123 women who had the devices surgically removed due to chronic pain. Only 67% of these women reported being pain free after recovering from their surgeries. The second study reported that of the 214 women surveyed three years after surgical removal of their transvaginal mesh devices, more than a third continued to suffer moderate-to-severe pain. Similarly, more than a quarter of these patients reported urine leakage at least once a day.

Bahe Cook Cantley & Nefzger is currently reviewing and accepting on behalf of women injured by transvaginal mesh.

Bahe Cook Cantley & Nefzger is currently evaluating legal claims on behalf of men who may have suffered cardiac problems due to their use of AndroGel and other similar testosterone therapy medications.

The FDA began reviewing these products for safety in January after two studies published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed that on average the medications doubled the risk of stroke, heart attack, or even death after a mere 90 days of treatment in men over the age of 65 with no heart problems, as well as in men under age 65 with heart problems.   (Stephen R. Braun, “Promoting Low T: A Medical Writer’s Perspective” JAMA Inter. Med. 2013; Lisa M. Schwartz, et. Al, “Low T as in Template: How to Sell Disease” JAMA Intern. Med. 2013).  More recent studies have shown that all men may face a 30% risk increase within weeks of beginning treatment with these products.

Sales of Testosterone replacement therapy products have doubled since 2006, and are expected to triple to $5 billion by 2017.  Some of the more popular testosterone therapy medications include Androgel®, Androderm®, Fortestra®, Axiron®, Testim®, Bio-T-Gel®, Delatestryl®, Depo-Testosterone®, Striant®, and Testopel®. If you or someone you know are using any of these drugs, take caution.  It is also important to be wary of the generic versions of these products.

Since the FDA announced its investigation, law suits against pharmaceutical manufacturers have been increasing exponentially.  Multiple law suits are now active across the country, with claims that (1) the companies failed to provide adequate warnings regarding the increased risks to cardiovascular health and that (2) marketing tactics were not up to the required ethical or legal standards and in fact resulted in prescriptions being issued to men who did not even have low testosterone levels.  The most recent of these lawsuits was filed against Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. on May 8th, less than two weeks ago.  Our firm is currently investigating and accepting these cases.

GM is in the process of recalling 2.6 million sedans in order to repair faulty ignition switches and lock cylinders after studies revealed that under certain conditions the ignition switches in these vehicles have a risk of moving out of the “run” position, thus deactivating the airbag deployment process.  GM has stated that if the ignition switch is not in the “run” position at the time of a collision, the air bags may not deploy, increasing the risk of injury or fatality.  So far, thirteen deaths have been linked to the faulty ignition and airbag deployment issues.

GM has declared on their website that the vehicles are safe to drive if the driver follows instructions to remove all other keys, key chains, and key rings from the key used to operate their vehicle.  GM states that the weight of just the ignition key by itself has proven insufficient to cause the ignition to shift out of the “run” position, thus making these vehicles safe to drive under these conditions.

While companies do not intentionally manufacture defective products in terms of its design, manufacturing flaws, and/or inadequate warnings, such incidents do occur. This can be a result of a manufacturer’s negligence or recklessness. If an individual is injured or killed due to such a product defect, the product’s manufacturer and/or seller may be held liable for the injuries suffered.

Even if a product has not been recalled, consumers still have the capability to bring a legal action for any injuries suffered due to a defective product as long as the defect is due to a manufacturing error, defective design, or inadequate warnings and/or directions.

Bahe, Cook, Cantley & Nefzger is seeking damages for a client who sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident caused by the faulty ignition and air bag deployment.  The firm is also currently reviewing and accepting more of these cases.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) announced that Graco is recalling 11 models of car seats. The recall affects approximately 3.7 million car seats, one of the largest recalls of car seats ever. Graco said the recall impacts all harness buckles used on “all toddler convertible car seats and harnessed booster seats manufactured from 2009 to July 2013.”

Graco car seats contain a red release button which can be very difficult to unbuckle, or become stuck altogether. The fear is that it would take additional time to remove a child during an emergency.

Graco announce it was offering a new replacement buckle at no cost. People can obtain one by calling 800-345-4109 or emailing consumerservices@gracobaby.com. The recalled models are as follows: the Cozy Cline, Comfort Sport, Classic Ride 50, My Ride 65, My Ride 65 with Safety Surround, My Ride 70, Size4Me 70, My Size 70, Head Wise 70 and Smart Seat. The harnessed booster seat models that are part of the recall are as follows: Nautilus 3-in-1, Nautilus Elite and Argos.