Archive for July 2011

Tennessee Tort Reform Bill Passes, Caps Punitive Damages

July 29, 2011

(July 29, 2011) On May 20th, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s House Bill 2008, known as “The Civil Justice Reform Act of 2011”, was approved by the state Senate, as well as the House.

This tort reform bill will protect Tennessee Businesses from large jury verdicts by capping the amount of damages. On May 9th, the Tennessee House of Representatives passed the legislation with a vote of 74-24. On May 12th, the Senate adopted the House Bill 21-12, after adding two amendments.

This bill caps non-economic damages (pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, humiliation, loss of enjoyment of life, etc.) at $750,000, and $1 million in the extreme case where catastrophic circumstances come into play.

Also, “The Civil Justice Reform Act of 2011” requires a plaintiff to prove by a preponderance of evidence that the defendant was malicious with intent in order to receive any punitive damages. Punitive damages will be capped at two times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is greater.

This bill will take effect on October 1, 2011, and applies to all liability actions for injuries after this date. When asked about the bill, Governor Haslam responded, “Tennessee has many great attributes going for it as we recruit companies interested in relocating to our state or expanding here, but the global competition for jobs continues to grow. This legislation removes one of the few advantages surrounding states had and makes our state even more desirable to business as we go out and see Tennessee as the best place int eh Southeast to do business.”

Economic experts agree that this is a great bill that will propel Tennessee in terms of places businesses look to expand. Since there will now be a cap, everything is much more predictable, and we could eventually see Tennessee’s business economy start to blossom at an exponential rate.

However not everybody sees this as a good thing. Sure, it’s great for the businesses looking to get started. But what about the plaintiff’s who are injured? By injury, of course, I am referring to pain and suffering, as only these non-economic damages are capped. Yet these limitations in essence nullify the whole purpose of punitive damages. If the results of a company’s actions leads to the harm of another, they should be penalized, regardless of limitations. For one individual, a $750,000 verdict might be a lot to pay, but to a multi-billion dollar company, it’s essentially pocket change. If their actions lead to making more money – even if they have to affect the lives of others along the way – what’s a small “fee”, so long as it is capped?

Is this justice? Leave your thoughts and opinions on this blog post, or Tweet us. Make sure to stop by our website.

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Yaz Birth Control Pills Cause Higher Risks of Blood Clots

July 29, 2011

(July 29, 2011) A May 31st announcement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration stated that they will conduct a safety review of the birth control pills containing drospirenone (a component of Yaz, Yasmin, Ocella, and others), after new studies link these drugs to an increased risk of developing blood clots.

 

Two new studies in the British Medical Journal found that these birth control pills can cause blood clots in two to three of every 10,000 women. Although it is believed that all birth control pills cause a risk of blood clots, they have found that the pills containing drospirenone (such as Yaz and Yasmin) carry a two to three times greater risk to develop blood clots than the older types of birth control pills.

 

Not only that, but these drugs increase the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). DVT is a blood clot in the legs that can cause pain and – if it successfully travels to the lungs – could cause death.

 

Women who take drospirenone birth control pills experience clotting at a rate six times higher than women who take birth control pills that do not contain drospirenone.

 

If you are currently taking a birth control pill that contains drospirenone, you should consult your doctor before you stop taking the pill. Your doctor may have safer alternatives for you.

 

If you would like some more information, feel free to stop by our website, or contact us at 1-800-246-4878.

Paraplegic Inmate Awarded $1M for Mistreatment by Facility Director

July 28, 2011

(July 28, 2011) The 8th Circuit has ruled that a facility director showed indifference to an inmate’s medical needs, affirming a $1 million verdict. This inmate was a paraplegic, suffering from sever spasticity (tightness of muscles), edema, and was likely to develop pressure sores.

 

One month into his sentence, this man broke his femur and developed several sores, requiring surgery. His lawyer asked the judge to modify the sentence, stating that this facility was unable to meet his clients medical and physical needs. However, the judge denied the sentence modification when the facility director wrote the judge a letter stating that the facility could take care of this man.

 

A week later, this man was hospitalized yet again when his health got worse. This ultimately led to the judge adjusting the sentence, and the inmate eventually filed suit. He was awarded $1 million on Eighth Amendment claims of deliberate indifference to an inmate’s serious medical needs, which included $750,000 in punitive damages.

 

The facility director appealed the ruling, but the court affirmed, adding “[The director] had no personal interaction with [the plaintiff]. However, [the director] was aware of his serious medical needs and deliberately disregarded them by falsely assuring a judge the [facility] could handle his needs and then failing to take the proper steps to insure that the [facility] could provide adequate care. A prison official may be liable if the official has actual knowledge of a substantial risk of serious harm.”

 

What do you think about the ruling, as well as the treatment of this paraplegic inmate? Did he get justice? Leave comments on our Facebook page, or Tweet us. Feel free to stop by our website as well.

Thirty-Five Women File Suit Linking Nexium to Bone Fractures

July 28, 2011

(July 28, 2011) Around this time two months ago, the first lawsuit was file against Nexium manufacturer AstraZeneca due to the drug’s increased risk of bone fractures among those who take the acid reflux medication.

 

Shortly after, thirty-five women filed a separate lawsuit with the same drug. Among those women is 62-year-old Janice Allen, who says, “I’ve had two in [fractures] in the left, one in the right foot, two ribs and now my left ankle. You’re not getting to really participate in anything, and I have grandchildren, you know. And I want to take them to the park, and you can’t do those things. I’m terrified that I may have my next break.”

 

The lawsuit claims that AstraZeneca was aware of the risks, yet they failed to warn patients or doctors of these risks. The majority of women who are claiming their use of Nexium has led to broken bones are in their 40s and 50s, and studies have shown women in this age group are at a 40 percent greater risk of injury than males.

 

If you have taken Nexium and have experienced any bone fractures as a result, you may be entitled to file a dangerous drug claim. Please stop by our website or contact one of our attorneys at 1-800-246-4878 to see if you are eligible.

Fertility Drug Clomid Causes Birth Defects in Children

July 27, 2011

(July 27, 2011) Reading about a fire station burning down in the newspaper is ironic. Taking a fertility drug to induce ovulation and increase your odds at becoming pregnant, only to learn that this same drug increases the odds of birthing a child with defects, is also ironic.

 

This is the newest findings associated with fertility drug Clomid, according to new studies from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Also marketed as Serophene, Clomid  birth defects have been reported anywhere from two months before conception to the first month of pregnancy. Such birth defects include anencephaly (open cranium lacking a brain), septal heart defects, esophageal artesia (closed esophagus), coarctation of the aorta, craniosynostosis (premature fusion of skull bones), and omphalocele (abdominal wall defect).

 

These findings were published last year in the online journal Human Reproduction, and other studies have shown more complications, such as nearly double the risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) for children exposed in utero, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.  Such findings have lead to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s categorization of Clomid into pregnancy category X, which is the highest risk of birth defects when taken during pregnancy.

 

According to the FDA, category X shows “positive evidence of human fetal risk; women who are or could become pregnant should not take this drug.”

 

If you have taken Clomid while pregnant, you may be eligible to file a dangerous drug claim. Feel free to contact one of our attorneys at 1-800-246-4878, or stop by our website.

More Cognitive Defects for Children of Mothers Taking Depakote While Pregnant

July 27, 2011

(July 27, 2011) On July 1st, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned the public about new dangers of the Abbott Laboratories epilepsy drug Depakote. New studies have found that women who take this anti-seizure drug while pregnant increase the risk their babies will end up with some type of cognitive defect.

 

These findings are backed up by epidemiologic studies that show that children born to mothers who took valproate sodium (the active ingredient in Depakote) scored lower on cognitive tests. Other valproate products include Depacon, Depakene and Stavvzor, and their generics, and are mostly used to treat seizures and symptoms of bipolar disorder, as well as migraine headaches.

 

The FDA will soon be adding information about the risk of delayed development caused to newborns due to damage caused in utero from mothers’ use of Depakote to the valproate product labels. Long-term effects are still not known in regards to cognitive development.

 

The agency already warned about the risk of neural tube birth defects from Depakote use during pregnancy back in December of 2009. In fact, when they released that warning, they released an announcement stating that “If the use of valproate is not essential, alternative medications that have a lower risk tot he fetus of birth defects and adverse cognitive effects should be considered in pregnant women and women of childbearing age.”

 

Depakote already has earned the “Boxed Warning” label by the FDA, which is the highest warning they can require a company to use on it’s drug labeling. This “Boxed Warning” alerts doctors and patients of the serious and life-threatening side effects associated with Depakote use.

 

If you or a loved one have taken Depakote while pregnant, you may be eligible to file a dangerous drug claim. A dangerous drug attorney from our law firm can help you review your situation, as well as determine if you can file a lawsuit for a dangerous drug injury. Please stop by our website, or call us at 1-800-246-4878.

Composix Kugel Mesh Manufacturers Reach Settlement

July 26, 2011

(July 26, 2011) On July 6th, C.R. Bard, Inc. (parent company to Davol Inc.) negotiated settlement terms with over 100 law firms around the U.S., totaling $184 million in close to 2,600 lawsuits!! With statistics like this, you must be asking yourself what they got themselves into to be in this much legal trouble.

 

It turns out that C.R. Bard has found dangerous medical complications with their Composix Kugel Mesh hernia patch. Patients using this patch have reported bowel perforation, sepsis, intestinal fistulas, and abdominal abscess formation.

 

On February 4th, Judge Lisi denied Davol and C.R. Bard a new trial in one case, as well as denying their request to exclude medical expert testimony, stating that it was “undoubtedly helpful in assisting the jury” to understand the facts.

 

This was the latest to come from the August 2010 ruling that awarded the same plaintiffs, Christopher and Laure Thorpe, $1.3 million in personal injury damages and $200,000 for loss of consortium. Both Davol and C.R. Bard were liable for failing to warn about the faulty hernia patch, as well as acting unreasonably in the design of the patch.

 

Because Davol and C.R. Bard were negligent in the design, they needed to find a safer alternative. If they could not do so, they needed to remove the produce from the market, yet they did not do so.

 

Although the manufacturers agreed to settle, this process will take months to finalize. Multiple ring break and ring buckle cases were scheduled for trial at the time of this resolution.

 

Please contact one of our attorneys if you are reporting any of the symptoms associated with these Composix Kugel Mesh hernia patches, and stop by our website for more information.