What is a Mass Tort?
Most often, mass torts are brought against corporations for losses attributed to catastrophic events, pharmaceutical products, medical devices or toxic substances. A mass tort is a single tort that results in injury to many victims. Therefore, mass tort actions are brought by a large group of people who are suing one or a few corporate defendants based on harms caused by a single common product. Each plaintiff has an individual claim resulting from distinct damages, and each receives his or her own separate trial.
What Is A Class Action?
Class action suits are a type of mass tort claim where a representative member files suit on behalf of a larger group that have a common claim. Usually, class actions are filed when the claims are not monetarily large enough to warrant hiring an individual attorney firm, but the harm affected a large group or “class” of people. There is only one trial for the many plaintiffs, who typically are not considered individually. Mass torts are usually more complicated than class action lawsuits due to the way they are structured.
CURRENT MEDICATION / PRESCRIPTION LITIGATION
At any given time, there are countless mass tort actions in various stages around the country. Here are three hot topics:
Known generically as rivaroxaban, Xarelto is a blood thinner belonging to a new generation of oral anticoagulants and introduced as a superior substitute for Coumadin (warfarin). Xarelto was advertised as not only more effective at preventing strokes than Coumadin, but also more convenient because it didn’t require a patient to make dietary changes or undergo regular blood monitoring. Xarelto received approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011 to prevent blood clots in certain patients and racked up more $2 billion in sales by 2013. Yet by the end of 2012, the FDA had received more than 2,000 adverse event reports, including 151 deaths.
Plaintiffs allege that the manufacturers, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer, exaggerated the benefits of the drug when advertising it to consumers while downplaying the potential risks. Further, it’s alleged that the companies failed to provide adequate warnings about the associated dangers, including the fact that there was no readily available antidote for excessive bleeding.
More About: Xarelto
Known generically as ondansetron and manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, Zofran is used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. Since its approval by the FDA in 1991, it has been increasingly prescribed for off-label uses that it was not approved to treat, such as use by pregnant women suffering from morning sickness. In 2012, GlaxoSmithKline paid $3 billion to settle numerous civil and criminal allegations, including the illegal marketing of Zofran.
Some subsequent studies showed that Zofran use by pregnant women could lead to a heightened risk of severe birth defects, including heart development irregularities, cleft lip and cleft palate. The company is now facing lawsuits filed on behalf of children born with heart defects or craniofacial birth defects because their mothers took Zofran during pregnancy. These actions assert a number of legal claims, including strict products liability, negligence, fraud, breach of warranties and deceptive or unfair marketing practices.
Learn More: Zofran Lawsuits
Lamictal (lamotrigine) is a prescription medication that is used to prevent seizures in people with epilepsy. The anti-seizure drug Lamictal (lamotrigine) carries a Boxed Warning about the risk of life-threatening skin reactions, including Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis. The FDA has also issued warnings for aseptic meningitis, suicidal behavior, and birth defects (cleft lip and/or cleft palate) in patients who were taking Lamictal.
There are several versions, including extended-release (Lamictal XR), an orally-disintegrating tablet (Lamictal ODT), and a chewable tablet (Lamictal CD).
Learn More: Lamictal
Onfi Side Effects
The anti-seizure drug Onfi (clobazam), very much like Lamictal, can cause deadly skin reactions, including Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN). The FDA has received 20 reports of these skin reactions, which cause the outer layer of skin (epidermis) to die and fall off in large sheets.
Skin reactions from Onfi are extremely painful, disfiguring, and can lead to life-threatening infections, organ damage, blindness, and death.
Learn More: Onfi Lawsuits
Transvaginal Mesh (Tvm)/Pelvic Mesh
Although transvaginal mesh was once considered to be the best available treatment for many of the millions of women who suffer from pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence, those implanted with TVM have developed a range of reactions, including the mesh eroding into surrounding tissue, the mesh becoming exposed, infection, chronic pelvic area pain and discomfort during intercourse. Follow-up surgeries are often required to resolve these complications, which can be both expensive and painful.
Plaintiffs allege that mesh manufacturers were actively and intentionally misleading regarding the safety and effectiveness of their pelvic mesh products, failed to establish safe and effective methods for mesh removal and failed to adequately warn of potential complications.
Manufacturers such as American Medical Systems, Ethicon, Boston Scientific, C.R. Bard, Coloplast, Cook Medical and Neomedic are facing tens of thousands of federal lawsuits.
Our Georgia Attorneys Can Help
Mass tort lawsuits often result in large settlements and verdicts against the manufacturers of harmful products. If you believe you or someone you love was injured or killed because of an unsafe product, you are entitled to seek monetary compensation from the responsible parties.
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