May 9, 2013
According to a recent article, a Washington Judge has ruled that a lawsuit against Intuitive Surgical Inc. (“ISRG”) may continue on. ISRG produces surgical robots that, just last year, were used by doctors in over 300,000 surgeries within the United States.
The lawsuit is centered around the death of a patient who was operated on with the assistance of ISRG’s da Vinci surgical system. The family of deceased patient, Fred Taylor, will pursue claims of “harm allegedly caused by the improper marketing of the da Vinci surgical system.”
Specifically, the lawsuit claims that ISRG marketed its surgical robots to doctors but did not provide adequate training to ensure that the doctors would be able to use the machines properly. ISRG immediately attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed. In the recent ruling, the court determined that medical-device makers must properly train medical professionals to use the products that they sell to them.
The da Vinci surgical system is used in 1,371 hospitals nationwide, including some in Oklahoma. This lawsuit is one of almost a dozen similar lawsuits filed since 2011. The robots have generated a large portion of ISRG’s $2.2 billion revenue in 2012.
May 2, 2013
In a new lawsuit, consumers are alleging that Ford motor vehicles manufactured between 2002 and 2010 have a design defect that makes them susceptible to sudden acceleration. The lawsuit claims that the defect is in the design of the electronic control of the gas pedals.
Ford owners in 14 states have come together to file the lawsuit, for which they plan to seek class action status. The complaint discusses the alleged defects in detail, which they claim are in the models that do not incorporate brake override technology. Brake override technology essentially stops a vehicle if the brake and gas pedal are activated simultaneously. Ford did not begin to install this feature into all of its vehicles until 2010.
Of the lawsuit, attorney Adam Levitt stated, “For too long, Ford has put its own financial interests ahead of its consumers’ safety . . . We hope this lawsuit sheds light on this important situation and requires Ford to correct its ways.”
The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory damages for the value that they allegedly lost in the defective cars. This value, they explain, is equal to the difference between the value of the defective vehicle, and the amount they paid for it.
April 23, 2013
Those who have recently purchased Fast Classics Country Fried Steaks should be wary that many bags of the popular food product might contain chunks of plastic. The announcement, which came on February 11, 2013, from the Food Safety and Inspection Service, has caused the recall of 15,328 pounds of the frozen country steaks.
Fast Classics Country Fried Steaks are manufactured by Pierre foods of Enid, Oklahoma. The potentially contaminated packages of country fried steaks were produced on December 21, 2012, have an establishment number of EST. 2260Y, a best by date of March 21, 2014, and a case number of 1523560202. The packages are 8.5 pounds, 22.75 ounces, and contain six country fried steaks.
An investigation into the cause of the plastic in the food revealed that a plastic bin fell into the production line in December. The plastic bin was subsequently smashed up into small pieces that ended up in the country fried steaks.
At this point, two customers have complained of mouth injuries sustained after eating the product. The steaks were distributed to retailers in 30 states. If you have a question about the recall, call Advanced Pierre Consumer Affairs at (855) 328-8888. If you currently own a package of Fast Classics Country Fried Steaks, be sure to check the product number and date to determine whether your package is subject to the recall.
April 9, 2013
Yet another product liability lawsuit has been filed against drug makers McNeil PPC and Johnson & Johnson. In the most recent lawsuit, a woman has alleged that the makers of popular pain relievers Tylenol and Tylenol PM failed to warn consumers that the products may lead to acute liver failure.
Krista Elaine Bolick claims that acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, causes those who ingest the drug to suffer from liver damage and acute liver failure. According to the lawsuit, Bolick took Tylenol in the “appropriate times and in appropriate amounts for therapeutic purposes and within the recommended daily doses for the product,” yet she suffered from acute liver failure later that year.
The lawsuit alleges that “The potential for acetaminophen-induced liver damage and failure have been well documented and well known to the Defendants for many years prior to the incident involving Plaintiff.” Nevertheless, defendant drug makers put the drug into the stream of commerce without adequate warning.
The lawsuit is premised on the legal theories of “strict liability, breach of implied warranty and merchantability, breach of implied warranty of fitness of a particular purpose, negligent failure to warn, negligent design defect, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, breach of express warranty, fraud, fraudulent concealment, and violation of consumer protection laws.”
March 28, 2013
On February 22, 2011, Tina King was listening to her iPod Touch in bed when she felt a burning sensation in her eye. The woman sat up and discovered that her iPod Touch had exploded, and sent an electrical shock into her eye. King has now filed suit against Apple.
King purchased her iPod Touch, model number A1136, in the Apple Store in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She filed the product liability lawsuit on February 20, 2013, in the Eastern District of Texas.
According to King’s attorneys, Apple sold her a product that was defectively designed and manufactured. Moreover, King’s attorneys claim that Apple failed to warn consumers of the risk that the iPod Touch would fail and that such failure could cause serious bodily injury.
King is seeking various damages, including compensation for “pain and suffering, scarring, disability, loss of enjoyment of the usual activities of daily life, medical expenses, mental distress, emotional distress, punitive damages, attorneys fees, and interest.” She has requested a jury trial.
King is not the only consumer to claim that her iPod Touch exploded. Apple claims that it is currently investigating the reports, however it does not yet have an explanation for the alleged explosions.
It will be interesting to see the theories on how the iPod exploded.
March 26, 2013
There are currently approximately 6,000 federal lawsuits against the various manufacturers of pelvic mesh products. Such products are typically used to treat pelvic organ prolapse, a condition where weakened muscles in the pelvic region cause organs to lower into the vagina. Although the mesh products have been successful in treating many case of pelvic organ prolapse, some women have displayed serious complications following the mesh surgery.
The cases have now been consolidated in a West Virginia federal court, and some trials are set to begin this year. The various lawsuits claim that the pelvic mesh products were inadequately tested, fraudulently promoted, and that the various manufacturing companies failed to disclose the potential risks to patients. The manufacturing companies either disputed the claims, or failed to provide comment.
The FDA approved the mesh in 2002 to treat pelvic organ prolapse. In 2008, the FDA released public notice saying that complications with pelvic mesh products were “rare.” Finally, in 2011, the FDA stated that approximately 10 percent of women experience common problems within a year of surgery. Many problems occur due to the mesh itself shifting, eroding, or causing infections.
The various victims are asking for compensation for pain and suffering, compensation for medical costs, and punitive damages.
March 21, 2013
According to the attorney for a 6-year-old boy from Oklahoma, Allergan Inc., represented Botox as a product safe for use by children. This alleged representation was made without regulatory approval. After the boy was injected with Botox for spasticity in his legs, he ended up on a respirator. The trial against Allergan Inc., is now underway.
According to his mother, Botox injections to 6-year-old Jackson Wells have caused him to develop acute botulism, which rendered him unable to breathe without the assistance of a machine. Although the boy has since been removed from his respirator, he still suffers from “a seizure disorder, vision problems and a permanent diminished ability to speak, breathe and eat.”
According to Jackson’s attorney, the overdose occurred because Allergen did not provide dosage levels. Moreover, at the time Jackson Wells got the injection, Allergan was promoting the drug for use in children without approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Without dosage level guidelines, Wells was given an overdose.
Last year, Botox sales topped $1.7 billion. According to the company, these profits are split evenly between medical and cosmetic use. According to Allergan’s attorney, Vaughn Crawford, the warnings provided by the company were adequate and clear, and the doctor who injected the chilled was well informed.
March 12, 2013
The FDA has recently released a Safety Communication that comes as a warning for those currently using the popular antidepressant, citalopram (Celexa). As reported in Forbes, the FDA has recommended that patients do not take over 40mg of the drug per day, as a larger dose may increase the patient’s risk of cardiac arrhythmia.
In a study conducted by researcher Victor Castro and his colleagues, patients who took citalopram, escitalopram, and amitriptyline were more likely than others to display a prolonged QT interval. Although nearly 20 percent of participants in the study displayed the abnormal QT interval, the researchers noted, “The clinical significance of this prolongation, including the risk of induction of torsades de pointes, is unknown.”
A person’s QT interval is measured with an electrocardiogram. A QT interval will vary with a person’s heart rate. Essentially, a person’s QT interval measures the electrical cycle of his or her heart. A longer QT interval means a person’s heart beats slower, while a shorter QT interval is representative of a faster heartbeat. An elongated QT interval is a risk factor for sudden death. A healthy person will typically have a QT interval of 420 milliseconds or less for men, and 440 milliseconds or less for women. As a person’s QT interval rises, so does their risk of heart abnormalities.
March 8, 2013
In a result that few expected, a recent government study has revealed that the leading source of food poisoning is leafy greens such as lettuce and spinach. According to Dr. Patricia Griffin, however, “Most meals are safe.” According to Griffin, people should not be discouraged from eating their vegetables, but should simply be sure to wash or cook them thoroughly.
Although more people are getting food poisoning from vegetables than other foods, the study revealed that the majority of food-related fatalities occurred as a result of contaminated poultry. The Centers for Disease Control has recently estimated that 1 in 6 Americans experiences food poisoning each year. Of those approximately 48 million people, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die.
Researchers were surprised that leafy green vegetables caused 1 in 5 cases of food poisoning. Moreover, half of all cases of food poisoning were caused by produce in general. From 1998-2008, there were 277 poultry-related deaths, 236 vegetable-related deaths, and 96 fruit and nut-related deaths.
The danger of eating red meat, on the other hand, has subsided greatly. The study showed that red meat was responsible for fewer than 4 percent of food related deaths. Moreover, red meat was responsible for fewer than 7 percent of food-related illness.
February 14, 2013
In September 2010, Mary Kay Beckman met Wade Ridley through online dating service, Match.com. After dating Ridley for 10 days, she decided to end the relationship. This didn’t sit well with Ridley, who attempted to murder Beckman four months later, on January 21, 2011. Ridley waited for Beckman in her garage. He attacked her when she entered the garage, stabbing her 10 times.
Beckman has now filed suit against Match.com over the incident. The lawsuit cites “negligence, negligent misrepresentation, deceptive trade, failure to warn and negligent infliction of emotional distress.” Beckman is currently asking a judge to award her $10 million. Ridley, who is also wanted for the murder of another of his ex-girlfriends in Phoenix, died in prison last year.
According to a representative for Match.com, the incident was “horrible,” however the resulting lawsuit is “absurd.” Moreover, the representative asserts that the site cannot be held responsible for the actions of Ridley, who they describe as a “sick, twisted individual.”
In Oklahoma, a plaintiff wishing to prevail in a products liability lawsuit must prove: (1) the product in question was the cause of the injury, (2) some sort of defect existed in the product, and (3) the defect made the product unreasonably dangerous.