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Product Liability Holds Manufactures Responsible

If you’re a bit intimidated about filing a product liability lawsuit, it’s no wonder. Many of the people who file these claims are going up against very large companies, any of which is going to have a lot of money to put up for their legal defense. In fact, many product liability lawsuits are actually […]

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What Are Class Action Lawsuits?

What You Need To Know About Class Action Lawsuits

You’ve probably heard of class action lawsuits and, in fact, you may have even received a check from one when you had no idea that you were eligible to receive money at all before you were notified that you were added to the lawsuit in the mail. Class-action lawsuits are specific types of lawsuits that are oftentimes utilized when there are so many people who have a similar complaint against a company or another entity that it would be difficult to have all of their cases heard separately. There are specific types of cases that tend to result in these actions.

Many Different Claims

The hallmark of a class-action lawsuit is that there are a huge number of plaintiffs involved. In order to have a class action lawsuit, each one of these plaintiffs must have a relatively similar complaint against the entity being sued.

A good example of this can be found in just about every claim involving a pharmaceutical product that has proven to be dangerous to users and, further, that was not disclosed as presenting those dangers when it was put on the market. Because there are specific side effects and symptoms that arise from the use of the drug, the plaintiffs naturally have similar complaints against the manufacturer. This allows these plaintiffs to be grouped together into what is called a class.

That class of plaintiffs will have their cases heard via representative actions. There may be more than one representative claim involved in the class-action or there may only be one. The idea is that this representative claim mirrors the other claims filed against the same entity closely enough that it is reasonable to hear that one claim and to rule based on that claim while still providing a fair trial for the plaintiffs.

Do You Have a Claim?

If you have the sort of claim that lends itself to a class action or if there is a class action that you believe you should be a party to, you can contact an attorney and inquire with them about it. You may also simply get a note in the mail at some point informing you that you are eligible to be part of a class action claim and that your name has been added to the list of people who will receive a payout in the event that it goes your way. These types of claims are very common these days, and they allow people all over the country to participate in a lawsuit that would otherwise require them to travel long distances or to hire their own representation.

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Window Blinds Recalled After Child Death

The Consumer Product Safety Commission and the manufacturer of a line of window blinds are cooperating in a recall of approximately 139,000 vertical blinds and 315,000 horizontal blinds, according to a press release from the CPSC. The window blinds were implicated in the 2009 death of a two-year-old girl from Michigan who ended up being strangulated by a vertical blind cord.

The products come from the company Blind Xpress. The blinds are manufactured with an adjustment cord that hangs freely and that has a loop at the bottom. According to the press release, some of these loops are equipped with a weighted device, as well. The cord presents a threat of strangulation, as it is not secured to anything and, therefore, a child can become tangled up in it and be strangled.

The recalls involve blinds sold from between January of 1995 through December of 2011. They were sold at specialty stores in Michigan and manufactured in the United States. The recall only affects blinds that do not have an inner cord stop device on them or, in the case of vertical blinds, devices that do not have a cord tensioning device that can be affixed to the wall or to the floor to prevent this hazard.

If you have any of these blinds, the CPSC recommends that you stop using them immediately. You can get a free repair kit from the Window Covering Safety Council. If you want to contact them immediately so that you can get ahold of this kit, you can do so at WindowCoverings.org.

Product Liability Claims

In some cases, such as this case with the window blinds, the company that manufactures a product that proves to be defective in a way that poses a threat to customers will participate in a recall voluntarily. This, of course, is the ideal situation, as the manufacturer is taking responsibility for the products that they put on the market and because, of course, they are showing some genuine concern for their customers. This is not always the case, however. Some products have remained on the market after the manufacturers knew that they were dangerous, and, in some cases, manufacturers have resisted CPSC calls to recall a given product from the market.

Companies are responsible for the quality and safety of the products that they put on the market. If a product poses an obvious hazard that is not a characteristic of the device – a drill, for instance, poses a hazard of causing lacerations and puncture injuries, but that is rather unavoidable – recalling the product is sometimes the best course of action. In other cases, the company will simply offer you a free repair or a kit to repair the product so that you can eliminate the danger. If you have been injured by a dangerous product, however, be sure to speak with a Houston product liability attorney.

 

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Lawsuit Filed over Hormone Replacement Therapy

A Texas family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit over hormone replacement therapy. The lawsuit alleges that the drug companies that manufacture the products used in this therapy downplayed or concealed the risks of the drugs and that they have little or no actual benefit to the patient. This type of therapy has been in use since the 1940s and is used to treat the symptoms of menopause.

What it Does

Hormone therapy aims to decrease the severity of menopausal symptoms. Those symptoms include the loss of bone density, hot flashes, irritability and many others. Some of the symptoms, such as the loss of bone density, have serious health implications and others, such as hot flashes, primarily affect the woman’s quality of life. According to the lawsuit, the therapies that employ hormone replacement offer little or no value to the patient and present real risks.

The Risks

The hormones used in these therapies include a mix of natural and synthetic hormones that are designed to replace those that the woman’s body no longer produces in adequate amounts. Some of the same hormones are used in birth control pills and have been linked to potential life-threatening conditions, such as deep venous thrombosis, where a blood clot forms in the deep veins in the legs and, when broken loose into the bloodstream, can lead to fatal conditions such as pulmonary embolisms, heart attacks and strokes. The drug manufacturers, for their part, hold that the medicines used in the treatment of menopause have always carried warning labels and that patients are given every opportunity to understand and decide whether or not they want to accept the associated risks.

Old Therapies and Lawsuits

Most of the time, when you hear about a claim over a dangerous drug, it will be over a drug that is relatively new on the market. This is not always the case, however. Accutane, for instance, was prescribed for many years before a slew of lawsuits and a black box warning changed the way it was used. It was established in many of these lawsuits that Accutane did present very real risks to the patient’s health and even their life, even though it had been in use for so long.

If a treatment has been around for a long time and you have been injured by it, that doesn’t mean that you cannot pursue a lawsuit for damages or wrongful death. You’ll need to speak with an attorney about the matter, of course, because they are the only professionals who can let you know whether or not it’s likely that you’ll have a chance of winning your claim. If they believe that you do, they may take you on as a client and help you to pursue compensation.

 

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Fosamax Linked to Eye Problems, CMAJ

The Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) has published a study linking bisphosphonates with inflammatory eye disease. The study, published in April 2012, showed a link between bisphosphonate drugs and uveitis and scleritis. These two inflammatory eye diseases were linked to first time users of the drug, according to the study. Bisphosphonate drugs such as Fosamax have already been linked to side effects that have led to lawsuits.

The Diseases

The increased risk of inflammatory eye disease was only linked to first time users. There are other side effects of bisphosphonate drugs, however, that have been reported in many different users. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, there have been over 3,000 product liability claims filed against Merck, the manufacturer of Fosamax, due to effects on the jaw and other bones.

Bisphosphonates have been linked to decay in the jawbone, which can end up causing disfigurement and requiring surgeries. It is also linked to degradation in the femur, causing fractures. This has led to the many product liability claims filed against the company. Bisphosphonate drugs are generally prescribed to postmenopausal women as a treatment for osteoporosis. They are also prescribed for the treatment of Paget’s disease.

Drugs and Liability

Whether or not somebody who suffered a side effect from a drug has legitimate reason to sue depends upon, in part, whether or not they were warned about the dangers of the drug. Many product liability claims have emerged in the wake of side effects that people had no idea were risks associated with a pharmaceutical and, in some cases, the pharmaceutical companies were aware of the risks.

When people end up being injured or killed because of the risks of a particular drug and they weren’t warned ahead of time that starting a drug therapy would mean putting themselves at risk, they sometime sue. Some of the more famous drugs that have been the subject of lawsuits include Accutane, Paxil and Vioxx.

Filing a lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company because of having been harmed due to the side effects of a drug requires that you speak with a product liability attorney. A Houston product liability attorney will generally take these claims on contingency, which means that you don’t actually have to pay them anything if they fail to win your claim. This obviously means that your attorney isn’t likely to bother taking your claim unless they’re sure you’re going to win, which is a good reason to have confidence in your case if the attorney takes it.

You may be offered a settlement by a drug company if you were injured. Don’t take one of these without speaking to a product liability attorney first; you may be giving up an opportunity to get a jury award or a larger settlement.

 

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Pradaxa Lawsuits Move Forward

Lawsuits over the blood-thinning drug Pradaxa will be allowed to go forward, after a federal judge’s ruling. There are in excess of 100 lawsuits pending at present and they are slated to be handled under multidistrict litigation. The drug’s manufacturer, Boehringer Ingelheim had attempted to get a judge to dismiss the lawsuits, but they will move forward.

The Side Effects

The principal side effect over which the lawsuits have been filed involves internal bleeding. Following an FDA investigation into the drug and prior reports of deaths associated with its use, people began filing lawsuits over the side effects. According to reports, this drug has been prescribed in over 70 nations. It is used in the treatment of people who suffer blood clots and who are at risk of suffering a stroke who have arterial fibrillation. USA Today reported in August of 2012 that there were 542 deaths associated with Pradaxa last year and that 3,781 reports of side effects had been filed in total.

Because of the large number of cases, this is being handled as multidistrict litigation. If you have suffered Pradaxa side effects that do not fit the model of the cases being tried in the multidistrict litigation claim, you could still potentially file a lawsuit over the side effects that you suffered.

Contacting an Attorney

If you have suffered unexpected side effects from a pharmaceutical treatment, the best thing you can do is contact an attorney. If the side effects that you suffered match an ongoing multidistrict litigation claim, you may be able to get onto that claim to get compensation for what you have been put through or to get compensation for the wrongful death of a loved one. If not, the attorney will be able to look at your unique situation and to determine whether filing a lawsuit would be an appropriate course of action for you.

Moving Fast

There are limitations on how long you have to sue if you are injured by a pharmaceutical drug. This is why it’s important to talk with an attorney as soon as possible. If you delay too long, you may miss your opportunity to sue at all. Even if you don’t decide to go ahead and file a lawsuit, sitting down with an attorney and letting them know your situation is highly advisable. They can at least let you know how long you have to wait to determine whether you want to file a lawsuit.

Remember that some drugs do have side effects that are widely known and that are risks associated with being treated with those drugs. Some pharmaceuticals, however, turn out to have deadly side effects that patients never knew about and, if this happened to you, seriously consider contacting a Houston product liability attorney.

 

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Yaz Lawsuits Still Piling Up

Yaz is a hormonal contraceptive that has been the subject of many lawsuits, including an ongoing class action lawsuit. New lawsuits are being filed over this drug regularly, including one that was recently filed in Illinois and that will be added to the class action lawsuit. This lawsuit is all too familiar in its allegations. The woman suing is alleging that she was brought to real and permanent harm by using the drug and is seeking compensation. These lawsuits also allege that the defendants should have known how dangerous the drug was and that they were negligent in not taking action.

Dangerous Drugs

Lawsuits over dangerous drugs fall under the category of product liability lawsuits. These lawsuits, however, are oftentimes much more distressing in their circumstances than are most product liability suits. Bad drug lawsuits involve cases where people have suffered blood clots, strokes and heart attacks, in the case of hormonal contraceptives. Lawsuits over SSRI anti-depressants involve homicide, suicide, birth defects and more. These lawsuits are oftentimes chilling in what they imply: Sometimes drugs are known to be dangerous and drug makers just keep pumping them out onto the market in a quest for profits.

What if You’re Injured?

These claims can be very complex. In some cases, your injuries may be so similar to the injuries that the claimants in the class action suits are alleging that your case can be added to that class action. In other cases, you may have suffered entirely other injuries due to using the drug and, therefore, you’ll end up filing your own claim. Your attorney will have to have access to experts and all the relevant information about past cases and your own case to argue one of these claims successfully. If you have a good attorney, however, you may end up winning a jury award or a settlement that could help pay for your recovery costs.

Don’t Take It

Pharmaceutical companies are some of the largest and most powerful companies in the world. Some of them rake in literally billions of dollars in profit every year on just one of their drugs. This makes it intimidating to go after them. If they’re intimidating you or, if you’re so convinced that you don’t stand a chance against them that you’re dissuaded from taking any action at all, talk to an attorney.

How Attorneys Help

First, attorneys are not intimidated by drug companies. The law doesn’t care how much money you have or how powerful you are. Everyone is equal under the law. If someone wronged you by selling you a dangerous drug and injured you because of doing so, an attorney will be able to look at your claim objectively and, if it’s good, they may take you on as a client so you can get compensated for being wronged.

 

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Pfizer Loses Fen-Phen Dismissal Move

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer was unsuccessful in getting claims dismissed over fen-phen, a diet drug that has been the subject of numerous lawsuits. The company acquired the original manufacturer, Wyeth, in 2009 and sought to get lawsuits over the side effects of the drug thrown out. Specifically, it was trying to get lawsuits alleging that the lethal side effects of this drug could be experienced many years after usage had stopped.

Fen-Phen

A popular diet drug up until its 1997 recall, fen-phen was found to have potentially fatal side effects. The drug is linked to primary pulmonary hypertension and, according to some lawsuits, that condition can result from usage of this drug more than a decade after a patient has discontinued using it. At its peak, there were more than 6 million prescriptions written for fen-phen. In the year since it was recalled, fen-phen has been the subject of of nearly 200,000 lawsuits.

The Side Effects

The lawsuits filed over fen-phen alleged that the drug had side effects that were deliberately hidden by the manufacturer so that they could continue making profits on the drug. Since the drug was recalled from the market, however, fen-phen has cost the manufacturer a great deal of money. Some of the largest jury awards and settlements have taken place in Texas.

In a lawsuit over the wrongful death of a woman who was using fen-phen, a Texas jury ended up awarding her surviving family $900 million in punitive damages and $113 million in compensatory damages. To deal with the lawsuits that they were certain they were going to face, the original manufacturer of the drug had put aside $21 billion, according to reports.

Suing a Pharma Company

Pfizer and other large pharmaceutical companies, as you can see from the $21 billion figure, have plenty of money to protect themselves in court. In cases where you know you’re going to be up against such a huge company in a lawsuit, it’s easy to be cynical and think that you would never be able to win when a company can put up that kind of money. The fact of the matter is, however, that the law is on the side of a person who was wronged by a company that was irresponsible and people routinely win lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies when it can be established that those pharmaceutical companies deliberately and cynically endangered their customer’s lives.

If you believe that you were injured by a pharmaceutical company, whether it was from using fen-phen or any other drug, make certain that you contact a Texas personal injury attorney. They will be willing to sit down with you for a free consultation about whether or not filing a lawsuit is a good option for you.

 

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Another Lawsuit Over Hot Beverages

A woman in Seattle is suing Starbucks over injuries allegedly caused by a hot beverage. The woman claims that, after buying tea in a drive through lane, she suffered burns that resulted from the lid not being affixed to the cup properly. These types of cases are oftentimes ridiculed in the media, but it’s important to understand what happened to the woman and why she might want to sue.

The Injuries

The injuries that were allegedly the results of the tea not being sealed correctly are distressing. The woman claims that, upon taking a sip of the tea, the lid came off the cup and the hot tea poured all over her body. She suffered immediate blistering and second-degree burns, according to a report in Seattle PI. The woman’s representation claims that the company was negligent and that the cup was designed improperly. They also claim that the popular coffee chain is aware of the problem and that they have done nothing to remedy the issue.

The woman’s injuries required skin grafts to repair, which are both expensive and painful procedures. She also claims other injuries in her lawsuit, according to the report.

When It’s Not Your Fault

There are plenty of ways that claims like these are characterized as being the fault of the injured party. In some cases, the injured individual likely is to blame. In other cases, however, the injured party is simply a victim of someone else’s negligence or of negligence on the part of a company.

When you buy a product, you have a justified reason to expect that you’re buying something that’s safe. There are plenty of cases, however, where someone is sold a defective product that ends up injuring them. Sometimes it’s a cup of coffee and sometimes it’s a medical device; these cases vary widely. The thing to keep in mind is that accepting a settlement without talking to an attorney is not in your best interests.

Negligence

It’s natural to feel like something such as the incident described above, or a remarkably similar incident in Albuquerque years ago, would somehow be your fault if it happened to you. An attorney should be consulted about these matters, however. There’s no sense paying for your own injuries if you didn’t cause them through your own actions and if a little more care in the delivery of a service or a product on behalf of a provider would have prevented those injuries.

Don’t accept a settlement without contacting an attorney if you’re injured by a product or a service. If you’re offered a settlement, consider it an indication that the company offering it is worried about being sued and there may be good reason for that! Contact a Houston personal injury attorney and get their opinion first.

 

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Verizon Settles in Class Action Suit

If you were a Verizon landline customer and paid unauthorized third-party charges on your phone service between April 27, 2005 and February 28, 2012, you may be able to recover that money. The company settled a class action lawsuit that requires them to pay back 100% of certain unauthorized charges. You’ll have the option of filing a Full Payment Claim, which gets you all your money back or to file a Flat Payment Claim, which will give you a refund of $40.

You can also find out if you did pay for such charges. If you’re a member of the class that sued-you would have been notified by mail-you’ll be able to request a summary to see if you’re owed money. Even the attorneys in this case acknowledge that the changes Verizon is implementing will go a long way toward minimizing such problems in the future. Being “slammed” is the slang term for having third-party services added to your phone service without your consent.

What Are Class Actions?

Class actions are lawsuits that involve a large number of claimants who have more or less the same complaint. The case is heard via one representative case, which is why these cases are sometimes called representative actions. These types of claims are common in product liability law. For instance, when many people suffer similar injuries due to defective drugs or medical products, class actions sometimes result. They allow people to get compensated and free up the court system from being overwhelmed by potentially thousands of claims that are very similar.

Individual Claims Against a Company

Quite frequently, consumers have individual claims against a service provider or manufacturer that aren’t mirrored in other claims. In these cases, a product liability lawyer might be able to help. There are three broad ways in which a product or service can be defective. They are:

· Defective in that it did not perform as advertised
· Defective in that it was manufactured in a way that made it useless or dangerous
· Defective in that it was designed in a way that made it useless or dangerous

Where services are concerned, there are sometimes discrepancies between what is advertised and reality that bring about lawsuits. For instance, if your Internet speed was advertised as being of a certain quality but it never delivered, you may have an opportunity to file a lawsuit against the provider.

Talking to an Attorney

A Houston product liability attorney may be able to help you if you’re in a situation where you paid for something that was useless, dangerous or not as advertised. If you’ve been charged for goods that you never ordered, you may also have a claim. Talk to an attorney to learn more.

 

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Q & A

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Liability

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