Dangerous Medical Products

The axe has fallen. Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has been named as a defendant in US District Court for the Eastern District of California for its baby powder line of products. The plaintiff, Mona Estrada, alleges in her filing on April 28, 2014 that J&J did not include a warning about the increased risk of ovarian cancer with the genital use of talcum powder in their labels despite studies indicating that there is a link. The talcum powder lawsuit lawyers at Williams Kherkher cite on their website a Science World Report statement that the risk of women developing ovarian cancer is increased by 24% with the genital use of talcum powder.

Previous to this, a jury in South Dakota federal court had found for plaintiff Deane Berg of Sioux Falls, who had filed suit in 2009 after discovering that the talcum powder she had used for 30 years may have caused the ovarian cancer diagnosed in 2006. The jury agreed that J&J had failed to warn consumers about the risks associated with genital use of talc-based products. However, the jury did not believe that the product was defective and did not award damages. J&J filed a “motion for judgment as a matter of law” but U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier upheld the jury verdict; an award was still not given. Under South Dakota law, a finding of liability may still include an award of zero. Berg filed a motion for a new trial challenging the award portion of the ruling in April 2014, which was denied.

The value of this first lawsuit is that it established a precedent for this type of case, and can pave the way for other plaintiffs, whether individually or as a group, to bring issue with J&J over its negligence by failing to warn consumers about the potential danger. Records show that J&J had known about the link between their products and ovarian cancer since 1982. The author of a study indicating this was contacted about it by a J&J representation and recommended that a warning label should be added.

A putative class action is not a true class action suit until it is certified by a judge as such. If you have developed ovarian cancer that may have been caused by using Johnson’s baby powder or related product, contact a reputable talcum powder lawyer in your area to see if you can file a personal injury lawsuit against J&J.

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Immunity from Wrongful Death

Posted By on Feb 18, 2014

It may sound like a bad joke, but there is such a thing as immunity against a wrongful death lawsuit even if negligence is clearly established. Certain groups are provided protection by the law from a wrongful death claim, which means that they cannot be held liable even if it is their fault that a person or persons died.

But like anything involving the law, it is not as simple as that.

Wrongful death claims can usually apply when a person dies from the action or inaction of another person. Sudden deaths are highly traumatic for the survivors. Common situations where a wrongful death may occur would be car accidents, medical errors, dangerous premises, and equipment failures. Anyone or anything that caused the situation is generally liable under tort law.

However, there are exceptions. Government agencies and corporations, public schools, law enforcement agencies, fire departments, family members, railroad companies, generic drug manufacturers, and some medical device manufacturers have been granted immunity from wrongful death claims.

It is easy to understand why the police and firefighters are given this immunity if the injury or death occurred in the performance of their duties; it is less clear why generic drug manufacturers have the same protection. After all, the nature of firefighting and police work entails a certain degree of fatal injury potential. But it is hard to justify why manufacturers of brand name drugs can be sued while manufacturers of the generic version of the same drug cannot be.

But nothing is set in stone when it comes to the law. The immunity of generic drug companies has already been successfully challenged in California, and there is no reason why a competent wrongful death attorney in Atlanta, Georgia or in Washington, D.C. cannot do the same with the right case.

If you are a “real person of interest,” meaning you are eligible to file a wrongful death suit on behalf of the victim, then it would be best to have an experienced wrongful death lawyer on your camp. You may be compelled to pull out all the stops to get justice, and you need someone with a thorough knowledge of state law to get it properly done.

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The use of transvaginal mesh to treat stress urinary incontinence (SUI) or pelvic organ prolapsed) seemed like a good idea at first. Surgical mesh has been used with much success in treating hernias, so the translation to SUI or POP support did not seem like such a long stretch. Past events prove that the pharmaceutical dangers presented by use of the mesh are nothing to laugh at.

SUI is a condition that primarily affects older women when the pelvic muscles become weaker so when they cough or laugh a little harder, a little urine squirts out. POP may also develop in older women, where the bladder, rectum, or uterus may get out of its usual position and bulge out on the vagina. These conditions are not always severe enough to require surgery, but when it is, the treatment method of choice at one point was the use of a transvaginal mesh to provide the support to prevent incontinence or slippage.

Manufacturers produced transvaginal mesh with the blessings of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and it was implanted in a lot of women. Because the FDA did not require clinical trials for this new use for surgical mesh, it was not until complications started to develop that the problems with this oversight surfaced.

The first problem was the risk of infection. The implantation was routinely done through the vagina, which is not ever totally sterile. A lot of women developed serious infections on the site that spread throughout their body.

The second problem was of dynamics. The vagina is designed to contract and expand as needed; the mesh is not. Over time, the mesh developed rough edges that damaged the walls of the vagina and other organs in the area, leading to painful and life-long problems for the patient.  According to the website of Williams Kherkher, the health risks of the product far outweighed its benefits, especially as safer alternatives are available for SUI and POP sufferers.

Even though the FDA did not require clinical trials, the manufacturers should have carried them out to ensure the safety of the end-users. This is a duty of care that was disregarded and would cost them plenty in the end because of their civil liability. Thousands of patients have suffered from physical, emotional and financial damage because of this negligence. The only way that they can get some compensation for the manufacturers’ lack of foresight is by engaging the services of a product liability lawyer to file a suit.

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