Preliminary Disclosure to Begin in U.S. DePuy Litigation

In the United States, preliminary disclosure has begun in the federal multi district litigation (MDL) against DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. following the company’s recall of the DePuy ASR hip replacement systems last year.

The significance of preliminary disclosure is that depositions are taken against three DePuy executives to examine the company’s retention policies, electronically stored information and corporate organisation. The information gained from these depositions will assist lawyers representing plaintiffs in the States, who have identified certain documents relating to the sale and distribution of the ASR hip replacement systems which will strengthen their clients’ cases.

The MDL process has been agreed upon by both lawyers representing clients throughout the United States and DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. to speed up the time in which product liability claims against DePuy can be resolved. The depositions against the three DePuy executives are scheduled to be concluded on April 28 2011 and pre-trial arguments will then commence before the Honourable Judge David A. Katz of the Northern District of Ohio.

When the MDL process reaches this stage, it is anticipated that the number of plaintiffs involved in the action against DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. will have risen to many thousands. Approximately 93,000 hip replacement patients are affected by the faulty DePuy ASR hip replacement systems in the United States.


Massive Egg Recall in USA due to Salmonella Outbreak

Half a billion eggs shipped to 14 states in the USA have been recalled over recent weeks due to a salmonella outbreak.  Around 2,000 cases of salmonellosis have been reported, although with unreported cases the true number could be over 70,000.

The entire outbreak was linked to a very small number of farms, mainly due to the consolidation in US agriculture over the past few decades.  The production methods of these massive farms have been called into question and there have been many calls for improvements in the way the Food and Drug Administration supervises the food industry.

Salmonella is the genus name for a large number (over 2,500) of types of bacteria.  The most common disease  associated with Salmonella  is called Salmonellosis,  which is gastroenteritis (food poisoning).  The symptoms are nasea, vomiting, and diarrhea.  Although food poisoning is usually mild, it does lead to about 500 deaths per year in the USA.

The most obvious way to avoid egg-based Salmonellosis is not to eat eggs, especially infants and elderly people.  If you do want to eat eggs, then only eat fresh eggs and ensure that the are fully cooked.  You should even take the precaution of washing all hands and all surfaces that come in contact with raw eggs (and raw chicken or meat for the same reason).

As might be expected, the crisis has resulted in multiple lawsuits from victims.


Up to One Billion Dollars in Damages Predicted for Diabetes Drug Avandia

The Financial Times has published an article today that estimates that GlaxoSmithKline may have to pay up to US$1 billion to settle the claims from victims of the side effects of the diabetes drug Avandia.

The compensation estimates are based on an early settlement of $60 million with a group of 700 plaintiffs who had claimed that the side effects included strokes and heart attacks.  The primary side effects of the drug are believed to be increased heart disease rates; greater incidence of fractures of the upper arms, hands, and feet of female diabetics; eye damage – macular edema; and hepatotoxicity.

The Financial Times states that it has been estimated that there are about 13,000 people claiming compensation for the side effects of Avandia.

The case for damages and compensation is compounded compounded by the actions of GlaxoSmithKline, which a  November 2007 US Senate Finance Committee report entitled “The Intimidation of Dr. John Buse and the Diabetes Drug Avandia”  accuses the drug firm of intimidation of Dr. Buse, an independent expert with extensive research experience in the thiazolidinedione class of drugs that includes Avandia.  Dr. Buse had expressed concern about Avandia in 1999.

GlaxoSmithKline has defended its development and use of Avandia.


Maclaren Pushchair Injury Compensation

Buggy manufacturer Maclaren has agreed 50 child injury compensation claim payments in the UK for injuries sustained using their buggies. The settlements are made without any admission of liability and Maclaren has defended the safety of its buggies and said that it is a problem that affects all brands.

The cases follow the recall of one million buggies in the USA following finger amputations for 12 children that got their fingers stuck in the hinges.

One million of the Maclaren  buggies were recalled in the US last year after it was revealed that 12 children had to have fingers amputated due to them getting stuck in the mechanisms hinges.  However, Maclaren did not withdraw the exact same products in Europe.  The Maclaren models withdrawn in the USA include Volo, Triumph, Quest Sport, Quest Mod, Techno XT, Techno XLR, Twin Triumph, Twin Techno, and Easy Traveller.

The decision not to withdraw the products in Ireland was condemned by the Irish National Consumer Agency as unacceptable.

If you or your child have suffered a pushchair injury, you should speak to a solicitor about a child injury claim as soon as possible after you receive appropriate medical treatment.


Toy-Related Injuries and Deaths

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has published a report called Toy-Related Deaths and Injuries Calendar Year 2008 that reveals that there were 19 child deaths and 235,300 toy-related injuries for children under the age of 15.  Riding toys caused the most deaths. Some 47% of the injuries treated in emergency rooms were classified as lacerations, contusions, or abrasions with 45% of these to the head or face.   There has been no statistical reduction in the volume of injuries over previous years, which is somewhat disappointing given a general trend toward safer toys and the recent scares and product recalls of toys made in China.  It should be noted that just because a child was playing with a toy while being injured does not imply a product liability claim.