2802, 2013

Philadelphia Lawsuit Alleges Drug Companies Failed to Warn About NuvaRing Risks

February 28th, 2013|Dangerous Medical Devices|Comments Off on Philadelphia Lawsuit Alleges Drug Companies Failed to Warn About NuvaRing Risks

Pharmaceutical liability attorneys like me have followed litigation over NuvaRing, a form of birth control, closely since it first emerged as an issue. NuvaRing is a type of hormonal birth control that is inserted rather than swallowed in pill form; it has to be changed only once a month. Unfortunately, users—and scientists—have found that it carries a slightly increased risk of blood clots compared to pills. That’s the basis for a lawsuit filed in Philadelphia against Schering-Plough and Organon Pharmaceuticals, according to the Pennsylvania Record. Wilma Romelien alleges that NuvaRing changed her life for the worse by landing her in the hospital with a blood clot in her sinuses and internal bleeding. So many lawsuits like this have been filed that a federal multidistrict litigation case has been created in eastern Missouri.
Romelien used NuvaRing for seven years before she was diagnosed in 2012 with venous sinus thrombosis and an intracranial hemorrhage. Because a blood clot is a medical emergency, she is claiming damages for the medical care required. Now, her lawsuit claims, she is on a regimen of Coumadin (warfarin) that requires frequent monitoring, and expects to need medical monitoring for the rest of her life. Her lawsuit alleged that the defendants were aware that NuvaRing posed more of a blood clot risk than oral contraceptives, but failed to fully disclose them to patients, doctors or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Nor did the company adequately study NuvaRing, it says, because the safety data it presented to the FDA was based on users of the pill. As a result, Romelien is claiming damages for disability, impairment, lost earnings, pain, suffering and mental anguish.
This is just one of the hundreds of lawsuits arguing that NuvaRing injured one of its patients. The multidistrict litigation in St. Louis federal court has 575 cases, according to its website; many more are pending in state courts around the country. The court hearing the MDL has chosen eight “bellwether” cases to go to trial; no start date for this is currently scheduled. Their allegations are supported by recent research, including an FDA study that found a 56% increase in the risk of blood clots for women using NuvaRing rather than combination birth control pills. Another study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that combined hormonal devices like NuvaRing raised the risk of heart attacks and strokes compared to other forms of hormonal birth control. These will undoubtedly be important evidence when cases like Romelien’s go to trial.
The defective drug lawyers at Carey, Danis & Lowe represent clients who suffered serious injuries or illness, or lost a family member, because of a medicine they thought would help them. That includes women who were injured by birth control and families that lost a daughter, sister, wife or mother who was trying to do what was best for her family. Blood clots are a known risk of all types of birth control—but if Romelien’s allegations are true, the manufacturer of NuvaRing failed to obtain or covered up important comparative risk information that could have influenced thousands of women’s choices between it and conventional pills. When manufacturers fail to warn patients about serious safety risks, our dangerous drug attorneys help patients hold them financially responsible for all of the injuries that might result—physical, financial and emotional.


2702, 2013

Ninth Circuit Rules Toyota Cannot Compel Arbitration Under Dealership Contracts – Kramer et al v. Toyota

February 27th, 2013|Auto Accidents, Product Liability|Comments Off on Ninth Circuit Rules Toyota Cannot Compel Arbitration Under Dealership Contracts – Kramer et al v. Toyota

If you watch the news about defective autos and auto parts as closely as our Missouri product liability lawyers do, you know Toyota was in a lot of trouble several years ago for alleged defects that led to episodes of unintended acceleration. Those cases are largely out of the news now, but I was interested to see another case involving an alleged defect in Toyota vehicles: anti-lock braking defects that increased stopping distances. In Kramer et al. v. Toyota Motor Corp., the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Toyota entities cannot compel a putative class of Toyota owners to arbitrate their claims that Toyota failed to warn them about the defect in the ABS or fix it, resulting in numerous consumer protection claims. The car manufacturer had argued that the case should go to arbitration. The plaintiffs are a class of people who own a 2010 Prius or a 2010 Lexus HS 250h. In February of 2010, their cars were recalled to update the ABS software to fix the braking problem. Their claims include violations of California’s consumer protection statute, unfair competition, false advertising, breach of contract and breach of implied warranty. Their purchase agreements with the dealerships where they bought the cars include clauses allowing either party to choose arbitration and requiring them to give up their right to participate in class actions, including class-action arbitration. After the Supreme Court ruled in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion that class-action waivers may be enforceable, Toyota moved unsuccessfully to compel arbitration. The district court ruled that Toyota was a nonsignatory and therefore could not enforce the contracts, and also that it had waived arbitration by vigorously litigating the case. The Ninth Circuit upheld that decision. Toyota’s first argument was that the contracts required questions about the contracts themselves to be submitted to arbitration. The court rejected this, saying that the terms of that contract were expressly limited to signatories to the contract—who did not include Toyota. The court next rejected an argument that arbitration should be compelled because the plaintiffs should be equitably estopped from avoiding it, because they had enjoyed the benefits of the contract. To decide this, the court looked at California state law and ultimately decided there was no need for equitable estoppel. The claims against Toyota rely on the existence of the purchases, the court agreed—but it disagreed that the claims rely on the purchase contracts. Going through each claim, it found no reliance on the contracts in the claims’ representations about Toyota’s marketing, and not enough relation between the claims and the contract. As a St. Louis auto product liability attorney, I’m pleased to see that the court rejected this appeal. Large companies like Toyota spend a lot of money attempting to avoid class-action litigation, even to the point of filing long-shot appeals. By rights, they should be spending the same money correcting mistakes that make their vehicles unsafe. If the plaintiffs’ allegations are true, the company knew ahead of time that there was a problem with the brakes—a problem that makes the brakes less effective is a serious safety concern. It costs money to fix that problem, but as Toyota has discovered over the past few years, it costs a whole lot of money to defend lawsuits as well. As a southern Illinois car accident lawyer, I hope the company prioritizes safety the next time it has a defect concern. […]

2702, 2013

Driver Cell Phone Use Risky — Especially by Truckers

February 27th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Motorists are becoming increasingly more aware of the dangers of using a cell phone while driving, and yet many continue to do so. Resisting the temptation to use a cell phone becomes even more important when the driver is controlling an 80,000 pound semi-truck and […]