What Happened In The MassTorts World Last Week? 2018-Oct-01

Friday, Sep 28, 2018

Howmedica Osteonics Corporation the defendant involved in the Stryker LFIT V40 Femoral Head MDL submitted a brief on September 6, requesting Massachusetts federal judge to deny the plaintiffs' motion, which states to reduce the bellwether pool from 18 to 8 cases. Howmedica claims that the parties have already agreed to limited discovery depositions in 18 cases and there is no good reason to alter the number of bellwethers at this stage of the MDL.

Stryker faces hundreds of product liability lawsuits linked to the complications of its LFIT hip implant. Lawsuits filed against the manufacturer have been centralized for coordinated pretrial proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts presided over by Judge Indira Talwani. The first bellwether trial has been scheduled to commence in September 2019.


Friday, Sep 28, 2018

Judge Catherine C. Blake of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland appointed John W. Perry Jr. of Perry Dampf Dispute Resolutions as a special mediator to oversee the parties involved in the settlement of Smith & Nephew Birmingham Hip Resurfacing MDL docket. The mediator is expected to assist the parties in settlement of approximately 100 Total Hip Arthroplasty (THA) and R3 Acetabular System cases that are pending in the hip replacement MDL.

More than 400 product liability lawsuits are pending against the manufacturer of BHR systems over allegations of failure to warn about the design defects of the metal-on-metal hip implant, which is prone to wear and tear, loosening, dislocation, and metallosis often requiring removal of the device. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) consolidated the hip implants lawsuits in the District of Maryland as a part of a federal MDL for coordinated pretrial proceedings.

In a similar hip implant litigation, lawsuits continue to be filed involving complications over Stryker Hip Replacement system centralized before U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani under MDL No. 2768 – in Re: Stryker LFIT V40 Femoral Head Products Liability Litigation.


Wednesday, Sep 26, 2018

Judge Vince Chhabria, overseeing the Roundup litigation has circulated a draft of a plaintiff fact sheet (PFS) after both the parties weighed in with suggested changes and additions to the document.

In the response filed on September 20 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the plaintiffs argued that the personal medical history section remains to be “too broad and seeks information that is irrelevant to the claims in this case.”

Roundup manufacturer Monsanto faces more than 8,000 product liability lawsuits linking glyphosate presence in the weed killer to Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (NHL). The Roundup multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2741; In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation) is presided over by Judge Vince Chhabria, in the U.S. District Court of  San Francisco.


Wednesday, Sep 26, 2018

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML)  will consider oral arguments on whether to consolidate all Gadolinium Deposition Disease (GDD) lawsuits filed against the manufacturers of MRI contrast dyes for coordinated pretrial proceedings.

In a motion filed in July, plaintiffs' lawyers requested all gadolinium complaints pending in the federal court system be centralized in the Northern District of California. Each of the MRI contrast dye manufacturers has filed a response opposing the centralization process citing that there are too few plaintiffs’ law firms involved in the cases and too many different manufacturers to form a multidistrict litigation (MDL). Bayer Healthcare filed a supplemental response on September 20 in support of the motion and outlining arguments to be made during the upcoming hearing. The U.S. JPML  is set to hear oral arguments on the motions from several plaintiffs and manufacturers on September 27, at the Phillip Burton U.S. Courthouse in San Francisco.


Wednesday, Sep 26, 2018

In the September 21 order issued by Chief Judge Glenn T. Suddaby for the Northern District of New York, a $1 million Risperdal verdict was overturned indicating that the failure-to-warn claim made by a man against Janssen Pharmaceuticals stays preempted since the federal law bars the company from adding a gynecomastia warning label. The federal judge also stated that the ruling was passed considering the plaintiff's attorney's "inappropriate conduct" evident from his defensive tone of voice during the court hearing.

Risperdal is an antipsychotic drug prescribed to treat adult and adolescent schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and irritability in children with autistic disorder. Plaintiffs who have filed Risperdal lawsuits claim Janssen was aware of the possible risks of the drug to cause excessive breast growth in men and boys. But intentionally ignored to warn doctors and patients about the side-effect. Two Risperdal lawsuits have been selected for punitive damages trial in Pennsylvania. The lawsuits are Murray vs. Janssen and Stange vs. Janssen. Plaintiff Murray was awarded $1.75 million while Stange was awarded $500,000 in compensatory damages. More than 6,700 similar claims are pending against Risperdal makers in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. 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, No. 100300296).


Tuesday, Sep 25, 2018

The seventh transvaginal mesh trial in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas concluded with the jury declaring a deadlock in the case of Susan McFarland v. healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon) following four days of deliberation. The trial which began on August 27 ended with the mistrial announcement by Judge Michael Erdos.

Susan McFarland, aged 67, was implanted with a Tension Free Vaginal Tape-Obturator system (TVT-O) on April 3, 2008. In subsequent days she experienced vaginal pain, urinary tract infections, vaginal bleeding, and dyspareunia. She underwent a revision surgery on September 29, 2009, when her surgeon removed “very tight adhesions of the tension-free vaginal tape on the right periurethral area” and “trimmed” the TVT-O. However, she continued to experience severe complications due to the mesh implant. This is the first trial linked to TVT-O polypropylene mesh design defects.

Lawsuits filed against Ethicon Pelvic Mesh claiming design defect complications and failure to warn allegations are centralized as a part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2327; In Re: Ethicon, Inc., Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation) overlooked by U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin in the Southern District of West Virginia.


Tuesday, Sep 25, 2018

An eight-day trial concluded on September 19 with the Tennessee Circuit Court for Maury County jury declaring $2.1 million in an asbestos verdict to a former maintenance mechanic James W. Davis.

Davis worked at Stauffer Chemicals as a career industrial maintenance mechanic during which he came into contact with asbestos fibers. Judge Robert E. Lee Davies presiding over the trial found Ameron International Corporation, as the only remaining defendant and stated it is13 percent liable the damages.

Asbestos exposure has been linked to mesothelioma, which is a rare form of cancer affecting the lungs, skin, stomach, and heart. Individuals working at construction sites and manufacturing plant have filed lawsuits against companies for failing to warn them about asbestos exposure hazards.


Tuesday, Sep 25, 2018

The California Superior Court for Los Angeles declared a mistrial in the latest talcum powder asbestos case filed against Johnson & Johnson, as the court states the jurors are deadlocked due to the fundamental disagreement between both the parties.

The announcement was made for the trial which began on August 20 followed by closing arguments from September 13 until September 17. Jurors were handed over the case one day later and they indicated a deadlock situation after entering their fifth day of deliberations.

Several talcum powder lawsuits are underway in state courts across the nation. All with the similar allegation that the asbestos-exposure from talcum use causes mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. The talcum powder multidistrict litigation (MDL 2738; In Re: Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Products Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation) is presided over by Hon. Freda L. Wolfson, U.S.D.J./ Hon. Lois H. Goodman for coordinated pretrial proceedings in the District of New Jersey.


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