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Top Product Liability Cases of 2016 at Mid-Year

Posted by William Bibb | Jul 06, 2016 | 0 Comments

07-06-16

A Texas jury awarded $497.6 million dollars to a group of five patients who claimed inflammation in surrounding tissues, "metallosis," and bone erosion from bi-metallic hip implants made by Johnson & Johnson's Depuy Orthopedics, Inc. unit. Hip replacements are a prosthetic device used to replace the hip joint. In these cases, a DePuy Pinnacle hip prosthesis was used. This model uses two different metals that are meant to slide over each other while bearing weight. However, a toxic condition allegedly caused when the device's components grind against each other and shed metal debris into the blood stream causes loosening of the prosthesis as bone erodes. Levels of metals are frequently measured in the patient's blood ('metallosis") and surrounding tissues. Patients must be monitored for this condition.

Five bellwether cases were consolidated for trial. These cases are selected to test whether juries are receptive to arguments of plaintiff's counsel. Grouping plaintiffs may prove to be a model for future mass tort cases to speed them along. Age, weight, and levels of activity are factors. Some people are also more sensitive to the metallosis than others. The jury awarded 360 million dollars in punitive damages. The Texas statutory cap is 10 million dollars.  The defendants have appealed to the Fifth Circuit. Another seven bellwether cases were set for trial by the judge. J & J has requested a that those cases not go forward until their appeal is heard. This is a multi-district litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. Other large awards have been rendered by a jury in Los Angeles for Depuy ASR hip replacements. Many cases have settled following that verdict. Call us, we have helped others with defective hip replacements.

J&J Talcum Powder cases are causing mounting losses for Johnson and Johnson. Two jury verdicts in St. Louis over the alleged link between J&J's talcum baby powder and ovarian cancer in women who used J&J's talc in their vaginal area, resulted in verdicts totaling $127 million dollars in the first such trials; and $55 million dollars for a woman and $ 72 million dollars to another woman in the second. There are thousands more similar cases being filed. 

J&J attacks the science in the trials by asserting that finding talc in the ovaries does not necessarily prove that the ovarian cancers are caused by the talc. Further, J&J argues that there is no way to prove that the talc came from their product. Plaintiff's counsel argued that J&J has been aware that talc is linked to ovarian cancer, and that they failed to warn their customers by placing a warning label on the product.

J&J is appealing the verdicts.

Call us if you have used talcum powder and have ovarian or ovarian endometrial cancer.

GM won an ignition switch case consolidated in New York federal court in March. GM has won a dismissal of another and a jury defense verdict in a third. Another case was settled was settled. It is alleged that GM knew for years of the ignition switch's propensity to slip out of the "run" slot.

Coke won its Pomegranate labeling cases by its competitor, Pom Wonderful, who claimed that Coke was "stealing business by misleading customers about the contents of their pomegranate juice drink," which turned out to contain only .5% pomegranate and apple juice combined. Pom also lost a case against Welch with similar allegations concerning its White Grape Juice.. The issues about labeling are highly technical under the Lantham Act and U.S. Food and Drug Administration rules which can coexist with the federal false advertising statute. Pom also lost a case against Ocean Spray's pomegranate juice that contained little pomegranate juice.

The NFL Concussion Settlement in the Third Circuit was upheld against those objecting. Repeated head trauma and concussions in football cause a degenerative condition known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy ("CTE") made famous in the movie last year starring Will Smith called "Concussion."

An African-American physician discovered that brains of players who had died showed signs of a condition similar to Alzheimers dementia.  Several high-profile players met unfortunate early dementing illnesses thought to be caused by a "Tua" protein that develops in the brain after repeated head trauma. 5,000 former players were seeking damages for concussions and other neurological damages alleged to have been caused by years of repeated head trauma while playing professional football. The court approved a billion-dollar settlement that was open-ended. College, high or recreational players can still sue against helmet manufacturers based on failure to warn of risks of concussions.

Traumatic brain injury cases are studied in the Veterans Administration/UCSD Medical Center for those veterans returning from combat. Blast injuries produce different patterns of brain injury. Advances in documenting traumatic brain injuries in court has lead to large verdicts in bicycle, motorcycle, and slip and fall/trip and fall injuries, as well as in construction site accidents involving scaffolding and falls.

Our firm has over thirty years experience in litigating traumatic brain injuries. 

We are accepting Talcum Powder cases. 

About the Author

William Bibb

Educational Background: B.A. Psychology UCLA, 1972 Juris Doctor, Southwestern University, School of Law 1977 Advocacy College, California Trial Lawyer's Association Birth Injury and the Law, Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center/Loyola University School of Law California Specialization Course for Workers Compensation, USC Law Center Use of MRI Scans in Proving Causation in Birth Injuries

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