Thursday, December 16, 2010

New Auto Insurance Limits in Jan 2011!

Good news. The Texas Department of Insurance is raising the minimum coverage for auto liability in Texas to $30,000 up from $25,000. It is effective January 1, 2011. Yes, it's a small step, but at least it is moving in the right direction. We meet with potential clients frequently who were in accidents in which the medical bills are tens of thousands of dollars.

However, as you've read in my previous posts, why depend on a bad driver's insurance or the lack thereof? Count on yourself and buy uninsured/underinsured coverage on your own policy. It's cheap and it could save your life or your family member's life when it comes to paying for damages. Most of the time, the bad driver that hits you isn't going to be the responsible millionaire--it's going to the be irresponsible driver who let his or her policy lapse.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Texas Supreme Court Finds Against Insurance Company

A victory for common sense and justice...for the millions who have a home office comes this recognition of the realities of the 21st century workplace. From the Austin American-Statesman:

The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that an insurance company improperly denied workers' compensation coverage to a traveling saleswoman injured while driving her company car toward her company-furnished office.

Liana Leordeanu was denied coverage for the 2003 accident because her office was also her home in a Northwest Austin apartment complex. Driving home is a personal reason for travel that left her ineligible for insurance meant to cover employees injured on the job, American Protection Insurance Co. determined.

But the Supreme Court, ruling 8-1, said Leordeanu was injured while on a work-related mission, driving from an employer-sponsored dinner in South Austin to an employer-provided storage facility and then on to her home office to finish some paperwork.

"Generally, traveling home from work is not in the 'course and scope of employment,'" said the opinion by Justice Nathan Hecht. "But is traveling from one workplace to another while on the way home?"

Yes, Hecht said in an opinion with implications for the growing number of Texans who combine home and office.

The accident on Loop 360 left Leordeanu in a three-month coma and led to 26 surgeries to rebuild her face and skull.

"After eight years and all the emotions, I don't even have all the words to describe it. I started crying when I heard," said Leordeanu, 36, who now lives in California. "I'm mostly glad how this is going to impact a lot of people who have an office in their house."

clindell@statesman.com; 912-2569

The Best Part of Waking Up?

Hmm...I'm going to stick with Folger's.

Marketers must have done studies that people will buy anythings labeled "all-natural." At least the FDA is being tough. From law360.com:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently issued a warning letter to a company for marketing an "all-natural" virility-boosting coffee that the agency found to contain an active ingredient similar to one in Viagra. The letter is the latest step in the FDA's decade-long crackdown on so-called dietary supplements designed and marketed to treat erectile dysfunction and enhance sexual performance...
Just remember, arsenic is "all-natural" too.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Aredia and Zometa Verdict

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. is on the hook for nearly $1.2 million in damages after a federal jury in North Carolina found that the company failed to warn a woman's doctor that its Aredia and Zometa drugs could cause a disfiguring bone condition. The actual verdict was $12.8 million but is being reduced to $1.2 million due to North Carolina tort reform laws.

The woman's family’s lawsuit was the third product-liability case to go to trial over the bone-strengthening treatments. Last month, a New Jersey jury rejected a woman’s claims that Aredia and Zometa caused her jaw deterioration. In October 2009, a Montana jury ordered Novartis to pay $3.2 million in damages to a cancer patient who made the same claims over the medicines.

Novartis is facing about 700 suits over the bone-strengthening medicines, according to court filings. Some of the cases have been consolidated before a federal judge in Tennessee. Others have been sent back to their home courts for trial. Still other cases have been heard in state courts around the country.

Our Zometa/Aredia cases are currently still consolidated in the MDL awaiting transfer for trial.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hyland Teething Tablets Recalled

We are currently reviewing cases of Hyland Teething Tablet poisoning. Please STOP using this product immediately and keep the product in a safe place in a waterproof container as evidence.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that the recalled tablets may pose a risk to children due to inconsistent amounts of belladonna, a substance that can cause serious harm at larger doses. The FDA has received reports of seizures, difficulty breathing, and muscle weakness in children using the tablets. There have also been reports of overdose; the containers do not have child safety caps.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Tissue Stabilizer Recall

The Food and Drug Administration has announced that a recalled medical tissue device "could cause more problems than originally thought." The device, Octopus Nuvo Tissue Stabilizer, was recalled by Medtronic Inc. in September because of its potential to break during use, posing a danger to patients. Now, officials are saying that using the product could cause severe injury or death and demand health care facilities cease using them. The recall has been stepped up to a Class 1 Recall according to Medtronic. Read the full story here.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Yet Another Heparin Recall

The FDA announced a nationwide recall of the blood thinner heparin made by B. Braun Medical Inc. because of concerns that the product may be contaminated with trace amounts of the same substance that was found to be in the 2008 heparin recall.

The heparin was manufactured in 2008 and will expire on Oct. 31, 2010, and Nov. 30, 2010. The FDA said people who have heparin from the recalled lots should discontinue use immediately. If you have been affected by this recall, please contact your doctor immediately, and contact Thomas & Wan, LLP to know your legal rights.

Here are the recalled lots:

Product Name

Catalog Number

Lot Number

Manufacture Date

Expiration Date

25,000 Units Heparin in 5% Dextrose Injection, 50 Units/mL

P5771

J8D674

4/15/2008

10/31/2010

1,000 Units Heparin in 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection, 2 Units/mL

P8721

J8D676

4/17/2008

10/31/2010

1,000 Units Heparin in 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection, 2 Units/mL

P8721

J8D677

4/17/2008

10/31/2010

1,000 Units Heparin in 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection, 2 Units/mL

P8721

J8D702

4/30/2008

10/31/2010

1,000 Units Heparin in 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection, 2 Units/mL

P8721

J8D703

4/30/2008 – 5/1/2008

10/31/2010

25,000 Units Heparin in 5% Dextrose Injection, 50 Units/mL

P5771

J8E462

5/8/2008

11/30/2010

1,000 Units Heparin in 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection, 2 Units/mL

P8721

J8E539

5/15/2008

11/30/2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Report on Nursing Home Negligence

A new report released today by the American Association for Justice (AAJ) illustrates how the civil justice system is the most effective force in uncovering abuses by corporate nursing homes and insurance companies that target elderly Americans.

There are 1.5 million elderly Americans currently residing in nursing homes – facilities that are now operated by mostly large corporate chains banking on the upcoming influx of baby boomers. Many of these vulnerable residents have suffered abuse by staff members and even died from dehydration or infection caused by inadequate care. The report explains how litigation has revealed this neglect and abuse and allowed residents and their families to hold offending corporations accountable.

“Corporate nursing homes and insurance companies have continually chosen to put profits ahead of the well-being of our most vulnerable population,” said AAJ President Gibson Vance. “Where regulatory and legislative bodies have been unable to cope with this distressing rise of neglect and abuse of our elderly, the civil justice system has stepped into the breach.”

A common theme in the report is abuse by insurance companies taking advantage of senior citizens. It highlights the story of a South Dakota farmer named Rudy, who was one of a flood of patients that companies signed up for long-term care insurance in the 1990s. Rudy moved into a nursing home at his doctor’s suggestion, only to have his benefits cut after three years when the company declared his care was no longer “medically necessary,” despite faithfully paying his monthly premium.

Thousands of seniors met similar fates as insurance companies miscalculated mortality rates and searched for ways to deny claims and cut off benefits, figuring few of their terminated policyholders would fight back. Trial attorneys across the country eventually found evidence of corporate programs aimed at terminating seniors’ benefits, and helped stop these deplorable practices.

Unfortunately, while litigation has revealed incidences of abuse and neglect, many other offenses never see the light of day due to nursing homes inserting forced arbitration clauses in the fine print of lengthy admission contracts. Residents and their families often sign these contracts while under considerable stress and anxiety without realizing they are being stripped of their access to court. Congress has introduced legislation to ban forced arbitration in nursing home and other consumer contracts.

The report, titled “Standing up For Seniors: How the Civil Justice System Protects Elderly Americans,” can be found at www.justice.org/seniors.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Graco Stroller Recall

As if you didn't have enough to worry about as a new parent:

Four deaths have been blamed on the older model versions of the Quattro Tour and MetroLite strollers made by Graco Children’s Products Inc. of Atlanta. For this reason, the company is now recalling about two million of those models. The four infant deaths referenced occurred between 2003 and 2005.

In addition to those four deaths, six other infants suffered either cuts, bruises, entrapment or breathing difficulties after being placed in those strollers. The potentially dangerous Quattro Tour strollers were made before November 2006 and the MetroLite strollers were manufactured prior to July 2007. The full Consumer Product Safety Commission detail on the recall is here.

Call us at 713-529-1177 if your child or someone you know has been hurt by these products, and we can provide you with your legal options.


Friday, October 08, 2010

Weight Loss Drug Meridia Pulled from Market

Today, the obesity drug Meridia has been withdrawn from the U.S. market because of an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Pharmaceutical giant Abbott Laboratories voluntarily agreed to pull the drug after a U.S. Food and Drug Administration review of data that showed a 16 percent increased risk for heart attack, stroke and death among people taking Meridia (sibutramine), compared with those taking a placebo.

Currently, about 100,000 people in the United States take Meridia, Dr. Gerald Dal Pan, director of FDA's Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology, noted at the news briefing.

The FDA approved Meridia in November 1997 for weight loss and maintenance of weight loss in obese people, and in overweight people with other risks for heart disease.

In a recent editorial, the New England Journal of Medicine called Meridia “another flawed diet pill.” They note that in return for offering a weight loss of under 9 pounds — less than 5% of the body weight of the overweight participants in the study — the drug had a one-in-70 chance of causing a heart attack or stroke.

If you have taken Meridia and have suffered a heart attack or stroke, contact us today to discuss your legal options.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Hip Implant Recall

DePuy Othopedics Inc has announced the recall of their ASR Hip Resurfacing and Replacement Systems due to an abnormally high rate of failure associated with the devices. In total about 93,000 DePuy hip resurfacing and replacement devices are covered under the recall. The recalled components include the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System. The resurfacing system was not approved for use in the U.S. and therefore should not be of concern to most Americans; however, thousands of Americans have had the DePuy XL Acetabular Hip Replacement System implanted.

The data shows that five years after implantation, about 12% of patients who had received the ASR resurfacing device and 13% of patients who had received the ASR total hip replacement needed to have a revision surgery.

We are providing free consultations and claim evaluations for individuals who received the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System or DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System who have experienced:

  • Unexplained hip pain
  • Loosening of their hip implant
  • Failure of the hip replacement
  • Additional hip surgery to revise their implant

For a free consultation with us, please go to our website and fill out the contact form or call us at 713-529-1177.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Med Mal Costs Are Only 2% of Health Care Spending

It is so frustrating to us that misrepresentations continue to be made by insurance companies in order to create fear in people.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the "tort reform" of medical malpractice cases. A new study by the Harvard School of Public Health in the journal Health Affairs shows that medical malpractices costs are only 2% of health care spending in the United States. Although the full text of the study is not free online, you can read the abstract here.

Costs related to medical negligence litigation accounted for only 2.4 percent of total health care spending in 2008, far less than some tort “reform” advocates have been asserting, according to a new report. “This study, along with the vast majority of academic data, shows that limiting the rights of injured patients will do practically nothing to lower health care costs,” said American Association for Justice spokesman Ray DeLorenzi. Instead, our focus should be on preventing the 98,000 deaths that occur every year because of preventable medical errors.”

Monday, August 23, 2010

Certain Zicam Class Actions Settled

Zicam-maker Matrixx Initiatives agreed to settle certain Zicam class actions related to false advertising and warnings. Zicam has agreed to add warning labels to their products should the FDA allow the return of zinc-containing Zicam products to the market. We are pleased that Matrixx has taken this first step to resolving this litigation and continue to work hard to resolved the personal injury lawsuits.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fosamax Trial Victory

A jury returned an $8 million dollar verdict against Merck this week for its drug Fosamax which causes osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). Basically, it is a rotting of the jawbone that is irreversible. Along with last year's $3 million dollar verdict for the IV form of the drug Aredia/Zometa, this verdict gives our Fosamax and Aredia/Zometa clients hope that justice will come for them too.

Not surprisingly, Merck claims it is seeking to overturn the verdict which it calls "excessive." I don't know, but it seems that an incurable rotting jaw from taking a dangerous drug is worth at least $8 million dollars.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Zicam MDL Update

As most of our Zicam clients know, the MDL is moving along with the first phase of written discovery through the completion of fact sheets. In November of 2009, the Judicial Panel for Multi-District Litigation assigned all of the Zicam cases to Judge Frederick Martone in Phoenix, who will oversee pre-trial proceedings, discovery and the bellwether trial process for all of the lawsuits pending in the federal court system.

In the coming months, in addition to the production of fact sheets, we will be going through expert designations, establishing procedures for generic depositions, establishing procedures for document production relating to liability and scientific issues, and most likely a hearing to determine the scientific aspects of the case. It is expected that the first trials in the MDL will take place in 2011.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

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Monday, April 05, 2010

Trial with Dogs: Helena Chemical v. Uribe

Trial is so much more fun when you bring your dogs. They have really enjoyed the Ramada Inn--they got walked 5 times a day and got to watch Animal Planet.

Anyway, closing arguments postponed until Wednesday...here is some news from the Las Cruces Sun-Times regarding the trial. I can't comment on anything until trial is over:

Last day of testimony

Day 3 of Testimony

Day 2 of Testimony

Day 1 of Testimony

Monday, January 25, 2010

Reglan Side Effects

Happy Belated New Year!

It's been extremely busy for us, so unfortuantely it means I am behind on blogging. We have been getting a lot of calls from former clients who take and/or used to take Reglan for GERD or acid reflux. Unfortunately, the FDA has previously issued a black box warning for this drug because it can cause a disease called Tardive Dyskinesia.

Tardive Dyskinesia is characterized by repetitive, involuntary, purposeless movements such as grimacing, tongue protrusion, lip smacking, puckering and pursing, and rapid eye blinking. Rapid movements of the arms, legs, and trunk may also occur. Impaired movements of the fingers may appear as though the patient is playing an invisible guitar or piano.

If you or family member has taken reglan or one of its generic alternatives and suffers from Tardive Dyskinesia contact us at 713-529-1177 for a free consultation.