What Happened In The MassTorts World Last Week? 2018-Aug-13

Friday, Aug 10, 2018

A New York jury favored plaintiff J. Walter Twidwell in his claims that exposure to asbestos in gaskets made by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company caused him mesothelioma and announced $40.1 million as damages in an August 7 verdict.

The company has requested a new trial stating that the man's counsel made "outrageous remarks" during the closing arguments in the three-week trial. The jury found that Twidwell was exposed to asbestos released from Durabla gasket material while working in the Goodyear company, which led to mesothelioma in him. Goodyear was found liable for not warning their workers about the health risks of its gasket material.


Asbestos exposure at workplaces has been reported to cause mesothelioma and lung cancer in several individuals across the U.S. Talcum Powder giant Johnson & Johnson also faces several lawsuits over asbestos exposure from their talc-based products, causing mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. Asbestos Product Liability Litigation (MDL no. 875, In Re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation (No. VI)) holds more than 3,000 cases filed by individuals who suffered complications due to asbestos products overlooked by Judge Mark Davidson in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.


Thursday, Aug 9, 2018

According to a recent case management order, general causation expert witness and Daubert proceedings have been scheduled for June 2019 concerning J&J's talcum powder multidistrict litigation docket. As per an order issued on August 6, the parties involved in the litigation are required to complete samples testing latest by October 1, 2018.

The talcum powder giant, Johnson and Johnson faces the allegation that the asbestos presence in their talc-based products causes ovarian cancer when used for personal hygiene purpose and another allegation involves developing mesothelioma risk due to asbestos exposure. However, the manufacturer stands by their products safety and are in plans to appeal all jury verdicts standing against them.


Thursday, Aug 9, 2018

Risperdal manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson's unit, requested a Pennsylvania appeals court to discard a $2.5 million verdict against them. J&J asserted that the trial judge prevented the use of a scientific article to challenge an expert's opinion that Risperdal use leads to abnormal breast growth in young boys.

The verdict in question was the second largest against Risperdal makers awarded to the plaintiff, Austin Pledger in February 2015. Pledger consumed the drug for a period of five years to treat autism-related behavioral issues. His parents claimed his abnormal breast growth was the result of Risperdal consumption.

Over 7,000 Risperdal product liability lawsuits against J&J are filed in the Pennsylvania State Court. Two coordinated actions have been filed for Risperdal cases: one in Los Angeles Superior Court (Risperdal and Invega Product Liability Cases, JCCP 4775) and the other in Philadelphia (In Re: Risperdal Litigation, March 2010 Term, Case No. 100300296).


Thursday, Aug 9, 2018

A $35 million verdict linked to Johnson & Johnson's Ethicon pelvic mesh injury lawsuit by plaintiff Barbara Kaiser was altered by an Indiana federal Judge. The Jury announced that the woman must accept a $15 million reduction, to avoid a new trial on punitive damages.

Kaiser got the Prolift transvaginal mesh implanted in 2009 to treat pelvic organ prolapse. She developed severe pelvic pain and filed a lawsuit against the mesh manufacturer in 2012, alleging that the defectively designed mesh caused her irreversible injuries. The lawsuit blames Ethicon for hiding critical information regarding the health risks associated with their device and intentionally misinformed the public and healthcare providers.

Many women across the U.S. who implanted transvaginal mesh for treating pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI) blame the device makers of inadequate warning. Ethicon Pelvic Mesh lawsuits are consolidated as a part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2327; In Re: Ethicon, Inc., Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.


Wednesday, Aug 8, 2018

As Monsanto's Roundup litigation moves forward, Brent Wisner, the attorney representing plaintiff De Wayne Johnson, asked a California Jury to grant his client $412 million as damages for the alleged non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) he developed while working as a groundskeeper and spraying Monsanto’s Roundup and Ranger Prov herbicides.

The plaintiff’s attorney asked the 16-member jury to award $39 million in compensatory damages and $373 million in punitive damages. Johnson's case headed for trial on July 9, 2018, in the Superior Court for the County of San Francisco; it is also the first Roundup cancer lawsuit that went to trial.

In July this year, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria, presiding over the roundup multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2741; In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation) cleared the general causation phase to allow plaintiffs to prove that exposure to glyphosate in Roundup causes NHL in humans. While Monsanto continues to deny glyphosate is carcinogenic, about 2,200 lawsuits are pending against it in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco.


Tuesday, Aug 7, 2018

In an order issued by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) on August 2, about 53 Bard hernia mesh lawsuits pending in 21 federal district court have been transferred to U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus (In Re:  Davol, Inc./C.R. Bard, Inc., Polypropylene Hernia Mesh Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2846, JPML) for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings in the Southern District of Ohio. Additionally, another 69 potentially linked cases would be transferred soon. Oral arguments for the motion consolidation were conducted on July 26,  in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Allegations include complications caused due to polypropylene hernia patch products like Bard Ventralex, Bard Perfix, Bard Composix and many others. Bard is also facing allegations that its hernia repair products tend to fail and cause severe internal injuries to the mesh recipient often requiring revision surgery. In June 2018, C.R. Bard and Davol agreed to consolidate all bard hernia mesh cases before one single judge, as long as it included all lawsuits over their polypropylene mesh products, along with previously recalled Composix Kugel (CK) mesh products. However, JPML declined to consider CK lawsuits in their decision.

More than 500 lawsuits are pending in MDL No.2782 (In re Ethicon Physiomesh Flexible composite Hernia Mesh Products Liability Litigation and about 30 are pending against Atrium Medical Corporation (MDL No. 2753). The first trial for Ethicon MDL has been scheduled to begin in September 2019.


Monday, Aug 6, 2018

U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange announced that the opioid lawsuit filed by the state of Oklahoma against the drug makers does not "necessarily rise" federal concern and remanded it back to the state court. The lawsuit filed in June 2017 was moved to federal court by the manufacturers, debating that the state required them to make different safety and efficacy disclosures to the general public.

A private attorney, representing the tribes and the state told that the ruling would prevent the case being squeezed into the already pending lot of 800 lawsuits in Ohio. The defendants in the litigation: Purdue Pharma, Allergan, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceuticals and several of their subsidiaries continue to deny any wrongdoing though they consider the epidemic as a serious health issue. Oklahoma is one among 13 other states that have filed false marketing charges against the opioid manufacturers.

Opioid lawsuits have been filed at the state, city, and county-level, and a multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2804; In Re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation) was formed on December 5, 2017, presided over by Judge Dan A. Polster for coordinated pretrial proceedings.


Monday, Aug 6, 2018

Judge M. Casey Rodgers, overlooking Abilify multidistrict litigation (MDL), recently ordered September 1, 2018, as the deadline for the drugmakers to declare a way to settle more than 800 lawsuits claiming compulsive behavior, gambling and suicidal tendencies due to Abilify use. If the drug makers fail to come up with a settlement plan within the time provided, the court will assign a fresh set of lawsuits from the MDL to trial.

 

The manufacturers Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka settled three bellwether cases from the MDL for undisclosed amounts. There is limited scientific information regarding how the drug leads to compulsive behaviors in what age group and when. However, thousands of patients have already reported that Abilify use developed psychological complications and impulses in them. In case the drug makers come up with a resolution plan for litigation, it will provide insight for other patients struggling with devastating side-effects.

 

The antipsychotic and antidepressant drug is used to treat bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression in adults, and Tourette syndrome in younger people. However, patients have reported various adverse events such as binge eating, compulsive gambling, increased risk of stroke and hyperglycemia. Abilify lawsuits were consolidated as a multidistrict litigation MDL No. 2734 (In Re: Abilify Compulsive Behavior Products Liability Litigation) in October 2016 before Judge M. Casey Rodgers in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida.


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