Articles Tagged with mass tort

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For years, a foreign company marketed its miracle pill. The TV commercials asked, “Do You Have Diabetes?” The company made billions pushing its pill. Slowly, patient after patient began suffering bladder cancer. Then, researchers discovered the pill was defective and dangerous. Yet, it was too late for many people. How many people developed cancer because of the bad pill? How many people suffered injury? Thousands of patients across the United States, including many in Alabama, suffered injury. I represented several of these patients and worked hard to prepare their cases.

Most people understand a car accident that hurts a couple people. Most people understand a work-related accident that hurts an employee. Those cases are very different from a mass tort. A mass tort is when a bad act or bad product harms many different people. Think an explosion that harms hundreds of people. Think a commercial plane crash. Think a defective drug or medical device prescribed to patients across Alabama or the United States.

Because mass torts may involve huge numbers of uniquely injured people, our Federal Courts have developed a special process called Multi-District Litigation (MDL) to handle them. Typically, our Federal Courts will assign a single judge to oversee the pre-trial process for all of the claims. That means a single judge may be overseeing claimants from distant places. In recent years, I’ve represented injured people from Alabama in MDL cases overseen by judges from distant places including New York, California, West Virginia and Florida to name a few. If you are talking to a lawyer about a mass tort injury claim and want to know if he or she really handles those claims, ask if they have been admitted to practice in far away MDL courts. We have. These cases require special attention.

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Personal Injury LawyersA couple weeks ago, another Huntsville lawyer bragged on social media about the number of 3M earplug cases he signed. He posted on multiple social media platforms about his large number of clients and then solicited for more clients. While that lawyer is marketing for these cases, he’s really not handling them. He’s simply signing cases to refer. He’s signing and referring them to a law firm far away from Huntsville – A firm that likely never knows the client and likely never works the local evidence. If you are going to promote yourself as handling a specific type of case, make sure you really do handle those cases. At a minimum, you should probably be admitted to the court where those cases are actually pending!

When it comes to large-scale claims involving defective products or medications, you need an attorney who is actively involved in the court and litigation process. The products can be complicated. Your attorney needs to know more than the talking points to sign clients. He or she needs to know the science and experts behind the products. The legal process can be complicated. Your attorney needs to understand the courts where the claims are pending. Your attorney should be admitted to practice in those courts. He or she needs to understand the legal doctrines that can easily ruin a good case. The medical evidence can be complicated. Your attorney needs to be experienced in developing medical evidence and familiar with the local medical specialists.

Over the years, I’ve received literally hundreds of phone calls from people upset because their case went to some out-of-state law firm where they were simply a number. After a period of time, they realized something was wrong and they were not getting personal service. Nobody personally argued for them in court. Nobody personally prepared their evidence and claims. They started looking locally and then called to ask questions. By the time they called, it was usually too late to fix the damage caused by the huge settlement mill firm that had their case.

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Alabama Accident & Injury LawyersI recently read an article which indicated almost 2/3 of all injured plaintiffs in mass tort cases were unhappy. That’s no surprise! Many of these individuals suffered very serious injuries only to be lost in a system that treats them like numbers rather than people. The article discusses a study by Georgia Law Professor Elizabeth Burch and Federal Judicial Center visiting scholar Margaret Williams.

What is a mass tort? I’ll use the ongoing Zantac injury claims as an example. Zantac was a drug distributed across the United States for many, many years. You could even buy Zantac without a prescription for many years. The claim is that Zantac is defective and causes cancer. You have a common product used by everyone. But, the injuries (cancer in this case) are unique. Every person suffers uniquely and individually. Our office has filed several Zantac personal injury claims. Each of our clients is unique and deserves individual attention.

How are these mass tort claims handled? Our Federal Courts will typically assign the cases to a single judge for pre-trial purposes like discovery. The idea is that it saves time and resources for a single judge to oversee all pre-trial issues. Once your individual claim is ready for trial, it will be transferred back to the Federal Court where you filed the case. You get a trial on your unique injuries and damages. At least, in theory, that’s how it is supposed to work. The process is called Multi-District Litigation (MDL).

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Huntsville Accident & Injury LawyersA successful trial lawyer recently published an article arguing the mass-tort system is badly in need of reform. It’s a good article. He’s right. The system absolutely needs reform.

What is the mass tort system? If you are not a lawyer, you may be asking this question. Look at this way. If you suffer an Alabama car accident injury, you may have a claim against the negligent driver. If you suffer an Alabama workplace injury, you may have a claim against your employer for workers’ compensation benefits. You file your individual claim against a specific defendant in Alabama and the court decides the issues. If you suffer an injury from a bad drug or defective medical device, the concept is similar but on a different scale. You make an individual claim against the company which made the defective product. It’s you versus the drug company. We have filed many of these defective drug and device cases in Federal Court.

The difference is the number of other claims. With a bad drug or defective medical device, hundreds or thousands of people across the United States may have suffered a personal injury. Your injuries and damages are unique. No two people suffer exactly the same. But, all the cases do have a lot of similar issues related to the product. The idea is that it is more efficient for a single judge to handle pre-trial issues where all the injured parties are trying to learn this information. So, Federal Courts will assign a single judge to oversee pre-trial motions and discovery. After the claims are fully investigated and prepared, they are sent back to the local judge for your individual trial. You end where you started — You versus the drug company.

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Injured-by-a-dangerous-drug-or-defective-medical-device-200x300On December 22, the 11th Circuit issued a new opinion dealing with the Learned Intermediary Doctrine under Georgia law. Many states, including Alabama, follow the same or similar versions of this doctrine. The Learned Intermediary Doctrine is a key issue in personal injury cases involving dangerous or defective prescription medications. If you suffered a serious injury from a bad drug, this legal doctrine may decide whether or not you can recover damages for your injuries.

What Is The LEARNED INTERMEDIARY DOCTRINE? How The Doctrine Impacts Bad Medication Cases.

So, what is the learned intermediary doctrine? Let’s start with the new 11th Circuit case, Hubbard v. Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals. The case involved a Georgia lady who suffered a catastrophic stroke while taking the prescription contraceptive Beyaz. Later, she sued Bayer claiming the company failed to warn adequately of the stroke risk.

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Personal Injury Lawyer In HuntsvilleYou’ve seen and heard all the lawyer promises. From billboards to television, they ask you to call. Some of them even yell their requests. It’s really a terrible way to find a good personal injury lawyer. Instead, you should research your options. Talk to people you trust. Look for an attorney who will work hard to prepare your case.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been discussing several ways settlement mill law firms harm their clients. Settlement mills are those law firms that mass advertise for a volume of cases that can be quickly settled. For them, it’s not about the client relationship. It’s not about building a case for its maximum value and recovery. It’s all about volume.

In recent posts, I discussed the secret arrangements many advertising lawyers have with a specific chiropractor. Like an assembly line, clients are referred to a specific chiropractor who runs up medical bills. In the end, the client suffers. How? These clients do not get the real treatment needed. And, at the end of the case, they are left paying their settlement money to the chiropractor. I’m not attacking all chiropractors or lawyers – just the ones involved in this terrible practice.

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Huntsville Accident & Injury AttorneysI’ve written several articles discussing Ranitidine (brand name Zantac) and cancer injuries. For a longer discussion on the background and history of Zantac, you can click the link and read our report at Zantac Cancer Lawsuits. I’ve also written several other Zantac articles which you can read on the Blackwell Law Firm Blog. We will continue to follow the growing Zantac research linking the drug to cancer injuries.

In my prior articles, I provided an overview of NDMA — the cancer causing substance associated with Zantac. No safe level of NDMA exists. NDMA is highly toxic. Ranitidine (Zantac) breaks down to create toxic, cancer-causing NDMA. In recent years, our firm has handled Alabama injury cases involving several different cancer-causing medications. But, Zantac is especially dangerous. Why? What makes Zantac so dangerous is that it breaks down in more than one way to put consumers at risk of injury. In other words, Ranitidine reacts in multiple ways to produce cancer causing NDMA. Here, are four ways Ranitidine leads to cancer-causing NDMA that can harm you:

RANITIDINE LEADS TO CANCER-CAUSING NDMA FORMATION IN THE HUMAN STOMACH

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Personal Injury -- Blackwell Law FirmA recent study estimated a significant percentage of medical studies are ghostwritten. The really troubling detail — Up to half of all medical studies may be ghostwritten by companies with a financial interest in the research.

Next time you see or read a medical article listing a researcher or physician as the author, take a step back. Did the listed author really write the article? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe a drug company or medical device company funded and really authored the article.

Consider the revealing article published by former ghostwriter Linda Logdberg. The article is titled Being the Ghost in the Machine:  A Medical Ghostwriter’s Personal View. How does Ms. Logdberg now feel about her former career?

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Recent research shows a dangerous problem with many newly approved drugs. Life-threatening side effects are common in the years following FDA approval. An article titled “Study: Side effects emerge after approval for many US drugs” details the new research. The article’s opening paragraph sums it up:

Almost one-third of new drugs approved by U.S. regulators over a decade ended up years later with warnings about unexpected, sometimes life-threatening side effects or complications . . .

This new study followed all prescription drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from 2001 through 2010. The drugs flagged because of serious post-approval problems included medications for common medical problems such as arthritis, infections, blood clots and depression. The study’s lead author (an associate professor at Yale University) said “the large percentage of problems was a surprise.” As for me — I’m not surprised.

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INVOKANA USE MAY LEAD TO FOOT AND LEG AMPUTATIONS

On May 16, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a new warning about the diabetes drug Invokana. Now, the FDA “has concluded” based on tests that the drug presents an increased risk of foot and leg amputations. Specifically, the FDA safety alert says:

Based on new data from two large clinical trials, the FDA has concluded that the type 2 diabetes medicine canagliflozin (Invokana, Invokamet, Invokamet XR) causes an increased risk of leg and foot amputations. FDA is requiring new warnings, including the most prominent Boxed Warning, to be added to the canagliflozin drug labels to describe this risk.

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