What Happened In The MassTorts World Last Week? 2018-Sept-10

Monday, Sep 3, 2018

In a recent verdict, a Los Angeles County jury announced $ 8.45 million to be awarded to Robert “Bob” Swanson's son over the lawsuit allegations that Robert developed mesothelioma due to the asbestos exposure while working at Weil-McLain. The jury found the boiler manufacturer 60% liable for causing him deadly cancer, making them responsible for $5.070 million of the total award for being grossly negligent.

Robert worked as a career plumber and pipefitter for Weil-McLain brand boilers, where his job mainly involved asbestos insulation on the boilers. And during maintenance, he used to scrape and clean off old asbestos gaskets before installing new ones. He testified that asbestos exposure during installation caused him the lung cancer, which was diagnosed in October 2014. His medical records reveal, he underwent extrapleural pneumonectomy to remove the cancerous lung followed by chemotherapy and radiation. His vocal cords got destroyed during the procedure, and 16 months later he succumbed to death,

The asbestos trial presided over by Hon. C. Edward Simpson against the manufacturer started on July 23. This is believed to be the largest verdict against Weil-McLain till date.


Monday, Sep 3, 2018

In an order issued on August 29, 2018, Judge Lorna Schofield stated that the jury found no valid evidence in the allegations by plaintiff Jamal Adeghe that Janssen Pharmaceuticals is liable for design defects in their antipsychotic drug Risperdal.

Adeghe began Risperdal consumption as a 10-year-old in 2003 to treat depression, aggression, and impulsive behavior. A year later he was diagnosed with gynecomastia- development of glandular breast tissue in males. Though he discontinued it soon after, over the next 10 years he was again prescribed the medicine to treat his behavioral issues. Adeghe filed a lawsuit in 2014 against Janssen and other drug companies over negligence, strict products liability, manufacturing defect, failure to warn, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, fraudulent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, and negligent misrepresentation. However, the New York federal jury denied claims that the Risperdal the plaintiff used deviated from Janssen’s intended design, or that the plaintiff relied solely on any misrepresentation by Janssen.

Janssen and its parent company J&J face over 7,000 Risperdal product liability lawsuits 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).


Monday, Sep 3, 2018

U.S. District Judge John R. Tunheim announced in a pretrial order issued on August 17 that 18 more cases would be included in the second stage of bellwether trials for nerve damages linked to Avelox and Cipro, each party is required to select eight from their side.

The cases selected by the plaintiffs and defendants must comprise of seven Avelox cases and two Cipro cases. A further expert discovery process would be done for the eight cases shortlisted by the court from those 18 cases. The selections only include cases filed after April 21, 2016; it does not include the claims where the plaintiffs took more than one of the medications in trouble. The first Avelox bellwether trial is slated for November 2018, the second Avelox case for January 2019, and two more in June and August 2019. The Cipro trials have been scheduled for March 2019. The trial dates would be finalized by late 2019 or early 2020 unless the drugmakers decide for a global settlement of all related lawsuits.

Fluoroquinolone lawsuits filed blame the makers for hiding the risk of long-lasting peripheral neuropathy associated with the drug. The defendant list includes Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, Merck & Co, Johnson & Johnson, and others for false marketing defective and dangerous drugs.


Monday, Sep 3, 2018

As per an order issued on August 24 in Middlesex County Superior court, an initial Case Management Conference for Taxotere lawsuits has been scheduled for October 4, 2018, at 10 a.m. in New Jersey.

A week prior to the conference, the parties are required to submit a brief statement with certain information to help the court identify any problems of recusal or disqualification. The parties must surrender documents related to the status of discovery, status settlement negotiations, settlement demands, mediation and prospects for settlement, along with the list of all related actions pending in the state and federal courts and their current status data. The NJ Superior County transferred 353 Taxotere hair loss cases to Middlesex County on August 15. Any lawsuit filed in New Jersey with similar claims would be included in the multicounty litigation.

Taxotere, manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis, is widely used as a chemotherapy drug. Plaintiffs across the nation allege the makers were aware of the permanent alopecia effect of the drug and failed to provide an adequate warning to doctors and patients. The multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2740; In Re: Taxotere (Docetaxel) Products Liability Litigation) includes about 9,000 federal cases that have been centralized in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana for pretrial proceedings.


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