$11,750,000 Verdict Involving Wrongful Release

posted on:
January 15, 2008

author:
Staff

category:
Personal Injury and Product Liability | Landmark Verdict

1983 – In this case, our client's son was killed by Defendant who had recently been let out of a mental institution. Immediately prior to him being let out of the institution, he had written a letter to his girlfriend, which the mental institution had a copy of, stating that he was going to kill someone. Within a day or two of being released, he killed our client's son. The jury was outraged by this conduct and awarded a substantial verdict to try to stop this from ever happening again.

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Hot Coffee truth: How famous case was twisted by so-called tort reform

posted on:
August 18, 2017

author:
Staff

On Aug. 18, 1994, a New Mexico civil jury awarded 79-year-old Albuquerque, New Mexico, resident Stella Liebeck $2.86 million in compensatory and punitive damages for severe scalding burns she sustained from spilling a 49-cent cup of McDonald’s coffee.

Tort reformists successfully used the highly publicized case to try to persuade everyday Americans that people were abusing the legal system, coining phrases like “jackpot justice” to portray complaints like Ms. Liebeck’s as “frivolous” while brushing key facts of the case under the rug.

What should have been a minor mishap for Ms. Liebeck became months of agony and life-threatening injuries simply because McDonald’s served its coffee dangerously hot.

Riding as a passenger in her grandson’s car, Ms. Liebeck ordered a cup of coffee at the McDonald’s drive-through. With the car parked, Ms. Liebeck positioned the cup of coffee between her knees so she could remove the lid and add cream and sugar. Her grandson’s 1989 Ford Probe had no cup holders.

Back in 1992, when the accident happened, McDonald’s required its franchises to serve blistering hot coffee, literally. At temperatures of 180-190 degrees, McDonald’s coffee was hot enough to cause third-degree burns in as little as two seconds.

When the coffee spilled, Ms. Liebeck’s sweatpants absorbed and held the scalding liquid against her skin. She was taken to the emergency room, where doctors found she had third-degree burns on her thighs, buttocks, and groin. Initially, doctors were concerned that Ms. Liebeck’s injuries were so severe that she wouldn’t survive.

Ms. Liebeck remained in the hospital several days while she underwent skin grafting procedures on her burn injuries – a process so painful and taxing that she lost nearly 20 pounds of her body weight. She also had to undergo medical treatments for her disfiguring and crippling burns for years afterward.

McDonald’s knew better than to serve coffee hot enough to cause third-degree burns, especially when the chain routinely it served from the drive-through window to motorists. More than 700 burn cases involving McDonald’s coffee were reported in the 10 years preceding Liebeck’s accident.

Ms. Liebeck sued McDonald’s, arguing that the coffee was unreasonably and dangerously hot and therefore defective, thereby putting anyone in the vicinity of a spilled cup of McDonald’s coffee at risk of serious injury.

The “Hot Coffee” case occurred at the perfect time for tort-reform supporters and corporate lobbyists, who were pushing federal legislation to limit consumers’ access to courts in cases of personal injury or other harm. Attacks and campaigns of misinformation about the case ramped up after a 12-member jury awarded Ms. Liebeck $2.86 million, and Ms. Liebeck was widely mocked and ridiculed on television and radio shows, and in widely circulated emails, magazines and other media.

“The only purpose of tort reform is to take away the rights of consumers and to protect wrongdoers from being held accountable,” says Beasley Allen lawyer Navan Ward, Jr., who is serving as Treasurer for the American Association for Justice (AAJ). “Examining what happened in the ‘Hot Coffee’ case is instrumental in showing how proponents of tort reform use ‘alternative facts’ of various lawsuits in order to negatively influence the masses against the need for the civil justice system.”

In fact, before she sued McDonald’s Ms. Liebeck sought to settle with the restaurant chain for $20,000 to cover her actual and anticipated expenses. Instead, the company offered only $800. When McDonald’s refused to raise its offer, Ms. Liebeck hired a lawyer whose multiple offers to settle the case were rejected, and the case went to court.

The $2.86 million jury award was pared down to $640,000 on appeal, but in the end McDonald’s was ordered to pay more than twice the highest settlement amount Ms. Liebeck’s lawyer offered.

“Corporate interests demean the civil justice system and make fun of the process,” explains Beasley Allen lawyer Frank Woodson, who is currently serving as President of the Alabama Association for Justice (ALAJ). “But Ms. Liebeck’s case exemplifies how well the process works. The initial filtering process is the assessment of the case by lawyers who often take cases on a contingency basis, earning a fee only if there is a recovery; lawyers understandably will avoid a case where the claim is unlikely to succeed. Even after a jury verdict, a judge has the right to modify a jury’s damage award as happened in the McDonalds case.”

Nevertheless, Liebeck v. McDonald’s became a flashpoint in the debate over tort reform.

The Hot Coffee case was used to convince the public that the justice system is somehow flawed. It sought to cover up the truth about punitive damages – that often the only way to convince a corporation to change its ways is to hit it where it really hurts: in the pocketbook.

Yet, proponents of tort reform managed to convince the public that their fellow citizens – and especially the trial lawyers who represent them – are greedy, only out for their own interest. In reality, these folks are simply representatives of everyman who stands to be injured through the neglect, carelessness and often blatant disregard Big Business has for the safety and wellbeing of trusting consumers.

“Personal injury claims serve the public,” Woodson said. “More than simply compensating victims, meritorious lawsuits can force corporate or individual defendants to change or modify the behavior that caused the harm or injury. Stella Liebeck’s lawsuit against McDonald’s changed McDonald’s behavior after more than 700 similar severe burns.”

The civil justice system is a cornerstone of our democracy. The right to trial by an impartial jury – free from influence or persuasion – is the only thing that levels the playing field. Why are we so willing to give up these rights?

Sources:
Beasley Allen
Hot Coffee: A documentary feature film by Susan Saladoff
ALAJ

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Beasley Allen lawyers named to 2018 Best Lawyers in America

posted on:
August 17, 2017

author:
Staff

category:
Community

Twenty Beasley Allen lawyers were selected for inclusion in the 2018 edition of Best Lawyers in America®. Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence.

Included on the list are the firm’s Principal & Founder, Jere L. Beasley, included since 1991, as well as Principals J. Greg Allen (the firm’s Lead Products Liability Attorney), included since 2012; Michael J. Crow, included since 2011; Thomas J. Methvin (the firm’s Managing Attorney), included since 2006; J. Cole Portis (Personal Injury Section Head), included since 2012; W. Daniel “Dee” Miles, III, (Consumer Fraud Section Head) included since 2011; Andy D. Birchfield, Jr., (Mass Torts Section Head) included since 2007; Rhon E. Jones (Toxic Torts Section Head), included since 2011; Benjamin E. Baker, Jr., included since 2013; Julia Anne Beasley, included since 2011; LaBarron N. Boone, included since 2011; David B. Byrne III, included since 2012; Kendall C. Dunson, included since 2016; R. Graham Esdale, Jr., included since 2012; Benjamin L. Locklar, included since 2017; P. Leigh O’Dell, included since 2011; W. Roger Smith III, included since 2012; C. Gibson Vance, included since 2012; E. Frank Woodson, included since 2016; and Navan Ward Jr. for the first time.

Because Best Lawyers is based on an exhaustive peer-review survey in which almost 50,000 leading attorneys cast nearly five million votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas, and because lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed, inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.”

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At Beasley Allen, there is never a fee for legal services, unless we collect for you. Contact us today by filling out a brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number, 1-800-898-2034, for a free, no-cost no-obligation evaluation of your case.

Prevention remains the only way to end mesothelioma deaths

posted on:
August 17, 2017

author:
Rhon Jones

rhon jones new featured Prevention remains the only way to end mesothelioma deaths In the medical field, the desired outcome should always be in the best interest of the patient. It’s a simple goal, though it may not have such a simple solution. This is especially true when trying to care for patients with rare diseases like mesothelioma that are difficult to treat, prompting the medical community to continuously search for new treatment methods.

Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer that can affect the lining of the heart, the lining of the abdomen or, most commonly, the lining of the lungs. Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos.

Particularly when it affects the lungs, known as pleural mesothelioma, symptoms can mimic those of other diseases. The Mesothelioma Research Foundation of American explains the disease is often misdiagnosed as viral pneumonia or lung cancer because it impacts a similar area of the body or shares certain symptomatic similarities.

Because mesothelioma is often misdiagnosed and has a decades-long latency period, it proves extremely difficult to treat. Patients die on average within 18 months of diagnosis. The grim statistics have doctors and medical researchers continuously searching for new and more successful treatment options, sometimes looking in the most unexpected places for a solution.

Recently, researchers have tapped bullfrogs, broccoli, African plants and even viruses as options for treating or aiding in the treatment of mesothelioma. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota are currently enrolling patients in a Phase 1 clinical trial testing altered measles viruses as a treatment. Research suggests a particular type of the measles virus, called the Edmonston vaccine strain, triggered cell death of several lab-grown mesothelioma cells in three out of four instances.

Cells infected by viruses typically die to allow the virus to spread, and the same is true when measles infects mesothelioma cells. But how will healthy cells not be infected with the measles? Researchers say the Edmonston strain requires a protein called CD46 to enter cell tumors. The protein is plentiful on the surface of mesothelioma cells but not on healthy cells, protecting them from infection.

However, despite developing treatment efforts, still no cure for mesothelioma exists. The only known way to prevent people from dying of mesothelioma continues to be preventing exposure to asbestos. Though regulations are in place and awareness of the dangers are increasing, people are still encountering the carcinogen – and are suffering due to asbestos exposure.

* * *

For more information about mesothelioma, or if you or a loved one was exposed to asbestos and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or a similar asbestos-related disease, contact Rhon Jones, head of our firm’s Toxic Torts section at Rhon.Jones@beasleyallen.com.

Sources:
Mesothelioma Research News
The Mesothelioma Research Foundation of America
MyMeso

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At Beasley Allen, there is never a fee for legal services, unless we collect for you. Contact us today by filling out a brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number, 1-800-898-2034, for a free, no-cost no-obligation evaluation of your case.

Takata granted 90-day freeze on litigation, enforcement actions

posted on:
August 16, 2017

author:
Staff

Takata Corporation has been granted a 90-day freeze on hundreds of lawsuits and government enforcement actions related to its defective airbags so it can focus on its restructuring under Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Delaware bankruptcy judge Brendan L. Shannon, who is overseeing Takata’s bankruptcy proceedings in the U.S., said that “What [Takata] seeks is a breathing spell to focus on all of its stakeholders … The record supports that’s what is needed.”

Takata sought a temporary shield from the mounting number of wrongful death, personal injury, and economic loss complaints, including most of the multidistrict litigation (MDL) based in Florida, and government enforcement actions.

Takata already has automatic stay powers under its Chapter 11 filing, but it asked Judge Shannon to extend those protections to other defendants in the massive airbag litigation, including the automakers also named as defendants, who are funding Takata’s case, Law 360 reports.

BMW, Ford, Honda, and Toyota were among the major automakers that argued in favor of the freeze.

While Judge Shannon largely accommodated Takata’s request, he exempted the lawsuits consolidated for MDL in the Southern District of Florida from the freeze, saying that they essentially made up one case. The order also grants Takata and other defendants a 90-day freeze instead of the six months Takata had asked for, but the company could seek an extension if needed.

The pause gives Takata’s management time to focus on the completion of its $1.6-billion sale to a U.S, based Chinese competitor and to replace millions of defective airbag inflators covered by the largest auto safety recall in history.

According to Reuters, lawyers representing plaintiffs allegedly harmed by Takata airbags called the request to suspend litigation “an abuse of the bankruptcy laws for the benefit of all of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers.”

Reuters reported: “The official bankruptcy committee that represents injured drivers said in court papers the injunction would have ‘human consequences’ and prevent people from pursuing compensation.”

Sources:
Law360
Reuters

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At Beasley Allen, there is never a fee for legal services, unless we collect for you. Contact us today by filling out a brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number, 1-800-898-2034, for a free, no-cost no-obligation evaluation of your case.

Retrievable IVC filter use down, but still high considering risks

posted on:
August 16, 2017

author:
Melissa Prickett

melissa prickett1 Retrievable IVC filter use down, but still high considering risks The use of retrievable inferior vena cava, or IVC, filters has fallen since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety warning in 2010 about fracture and other adverse effects linked to the devices, but the rate for implanting the devices remains high, according to findings from a study announced earlier this summer by Temple University Hospital (TUH) researchers. The findings lead some medical experts to fear that retrievable IVC filters are being overused – exposing more people to a higher risk of complications associated with the devices, without a known significant benefit, the Cardiovascular Research Foundation reports.

The TUH research team was led by Riyaz Bashir, MD, FACC, RVT, Director of Vascular and Endovascular Medicine at TUH. The team examined the rates of retrievable IVC filter placement in the U.S. from January 2005 to December 2014, which was compiled by the National Inpatient Sample database.

During the 10-year period, more than 1.13 million patients received an IVC filter implant. There was an initial surge in IVC filter placement between 2005 to 2010, but following the FDA safety warning in 2010 filter placements dropped by 29 percent. However, the rate for IVC filter use is still significantly higher in the U.S. (39.1 per 100,000 people) than in five large European countries (3 per 100,000 people). Despite the drop-off in IVC filter usage, the rate of hospitalization for venous thromboembolism remained steady.

The cage-like device is implanted in the inferior vena cava to catch blood clots that form in the legs and keep them from reaching the heart, lungs and other vital organs, as discussed previously by Beasley Allen. Retrievable IVC filters are used as an alternative to help prevent venous thromboembolism, such as deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, in trauma patients when they are unable to take blood thinners.

Retrievable filters are more prone to fracture, migrate or tilt within the body than their predecessor, the permanent IVC filter, because of their more fragile design. These adverse events can cause life-threatening injuries, which is the reason thousands of patients have filed lawsuits nationwide against various IVC filter manufactures.

Currently, cases involving Cordis IVC filters are consolidated in California state court while a multidistrict litigation (MDL) has combined approximately 2,213 claims against C.R. Bard, Inc. that is pending in U.S. District Court in Arizona, according to the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. Another MDL has centralized 2,342 claims against Cook Medical in the in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District for Indiana. The first bellwether trial for the Cook Medical MDL is slated to begin Oct. 2.

* * *

If you would like more information about IVC filters, contact Melissa Prickett, a lawyer in our Mass Torts Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Melissa.Prickett@beasleyallen.com.

Sources:
Temple University Hospital
Cardiovascular Research Foundation
Beasley Allen
Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation

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At Beasley Allen, there is never a fee for legal services, unless we collect for you. Contact us today by filling out a brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number, 1-800-898-2034, for a free, no-cost no-obligation evaluation of your case.

Senate resolution recognizes whistleblowers’ important contributions

posted on:
August 14, 2017

author:
Archie Grubb

archie grubb1 Senate resolution recognizes whistleblowers’ important contributions Last month marked the 239th anniversary of our nation’s first whistleblower protection law. Longtime whistleblower advocate, Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) noted that Congress passed the law July 30, 1778. They did so after realizing the need to protect civilians who risked their safety and security to warn lawmakers of fraud and misconduct carried out by those working for or providing a service to the U.S. government during the Revolutionary War.

The Senate formally recognized the contributions of these brave relators in 2013, thanks to Sen. Grassley’s leadership. The body unanimously passed a resolution designating July 30 as National Whistleblower Day as a tribute to that first law and in recognition of the sacrifices and important contributions whistleblowers have made for the country. Senators also established the bipartisan Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus to raise awareness about and build on protections for whistleblowers including maintaining unanimous support for National Whistleblower Day, which was recently reaffirmed in the 2017 Senate resolution.

Whistleblowers, in effect, are revealing inside knowledge they have of some potential wrongdoing by their employer that affects the U.S. government. As ordinary citizens, whistleblowers risk their careers, livelihood, reputation and more by telling the truth and upholding their civic duty.

While whistleblowers save U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars each year, they may not always receive the appreciation they deserve. However, because of the False Claims Act, which was the successor to the 1778 law and was enacted during Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, they are afforded certain protections, as discussed in my law partner Lance C. Gould’s book, Whistleblowers: A Brief History & A Guide to Getting Started.

A recent whistleblower case demonstrates how whistleblowers’ courage can have more serious implications including on matters of national security. My law partner, Larry Golston, recalls how his client Blake Percival’s actions made our country safer.

Mr. Percival worked for a government contractor, U.S. Investigation Services (USIS), when he discovered the company was fraudulently bilking the government out of payments for background checks it did not perform. The background checks were for federal job applicants seeking security clearances and it is estimated that the fraud affected more than 650,000 background checks. USIS was responsible for conducting background checks on Edward Snowden, who leaked classified information from the National Security Agency, as well as Aaron Alexis, the Navy Yard shooter.

* * *

Are you aware of fraud being committed against the federal government, or a state government? If so, you may be protected and rewarded for doing the right thing by reporting the fraud. If you have any questions about whether you qualify as a whistleblower, please contact an attorney at Beasley Allen for a free and confidential evaluation of your claim. There is a contact form on this website, or you may email one of the lawyers on our whistleblower litigation team: Archie Grubb, Larry Golston, Lance Gould or Andrew Brashier.

Sources:
Senator Charles Grassley
U.S. Senate
Beasley Allen

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At Beasley Allen, there is never a fee for legal services, unless we collect for you. Contact us today by filling out a brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number, 1-800-898-2034, for a free, no-cost no-obligation evaluation of your case.

Truck platooning: Industry insiders, law enforcement, public say ‘Slow down!’

posted on:
August 10, 2017

author:
Chris Glover

chris glover Truck platooning: Industry insiders, law enforcement, public say Slow down!A number of states have relaxed their laws requiring drivers of heavy trucks to keep a safe and sometimes specified distance between the front of their trucks and the vehicles in front of them. The National Law Review explains that relaxing these laws is part of an effort to allow experimental testing of automated truck platooning electronic systems on the states’ roads and highways. The commercial trucking industry is the driving force behind this experiment because it stands to benefit from lower fuel costs. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration supports autonomous vehicle technology, arguing that it can potentially improve safety on the nation’s roads.

Yet, critics, including commercial trucking insiders, caution regulators and lawmakers to slow down efforts to mainstream the automated driving technology. Some of those critics voiced their concerns during a listening session convened by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in Atlanta earlier this year. Participants included representatives from law enforcement agencies, various segments of the trucking industry, bus drivers and other representatives from the motor carrier industry, as well as automation technology developers.

In general, platooning is a form of automated or driver-assisted technology that uses radar and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications to virtually connect a group of trucks. The level of automation varies and will likely be subject to increasing regulation. The V2V communication allows the trucks to create and maintain a closer than typically allowed distance between at least two in-lane vehicles. Sensors or other assisted driving devices sync the connected trucks, which automatically maintains a specific, close distance between the trucks. For example, if the lead truck brakes, then the brakes on the vehicles following behind the lead truck may be automatically engaged.

The key concerns expressed at the listening session focused on the inevitable changes the industry would face and how it is preparing to address those changes, specifically relating to cybersecurity and the safety of both truck drivers and those sharing the roads. Specifically, audience members were concerned about the overlap of the human factor and the automation. They also questioned regulators about how driver-assisted trucks would be identified from other trucks and what safeguards would be implemented to protect the technology from hackers and other interference with the technology.

As with other emerging technology, it is too early to determine the trajectory of platooning. However, hastily rushing a new product to market frequently yields less than desired results and often sacrifices consumer safety.

* * *

Beasley Allen attorney Chris Glover handles cases of personal injury involving heavy trucks, log trucks, 18-wheelers and other commercial vehicles. He is practicing in Beasley Allen’s new Atlanta office. For more information about these types of claims, contact him by email at Chris.Glover@BeasleyAllen.com. To get your free copy of “An Introduction to Truck Accident Claims: A Guide to Getting Started,” visit Chris Glover’s website at www.ChrisGlover-Law.com.

Sources:
National Law Review
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Free Legal Consultation
At Beasley Allen, there is never a fee for legal services, unless we collect for you. Contact us today by filling out a brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number, 1-800-898-2034, for a free, no-cost no-obligation evaluation of your case.

Third Xarelto Trial Begins This Week

posted on:
August 9, 2017

author:
Joseph VanZandt

xarelto 250x140 Third Xarelto Trial Begins This WeekLast month, U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon rejected the latest attempts by Xarelto makers, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer, to dodge consumers’ efforts to hold them accountable. Judge Fallon denied the defendants’ request for partial summary judgment, allowing the third bellwether trial to proceed as scheduled this week, Righting Injustice reports.

Dora Mingo is the third plaintiff to go to trial in the Xarelto multidistrict litigation centralized in the United States District Court for the Eastern District for Louisiana and is one of the 17,593 claims pending against the pharmaceutical giants. Plaintiffs are suing over the drugmakers’ failure to warn consumers about the potential for Xarelto to increase a patient’s risk of internal bleeding. Following hip replacement surgery in 2015, Dora was given Xarelto to treat deep vein thrombosis (DVT) she developed after the surgery. While being treated with Xarelto, Dora began experiencing gastrointestinal bleeding, was hospitalized and remained in the Intensive Care Unit until doctors could stabilize her condition.

Dora claims that Janssen and Bayer should have instructed her doctor and others prescribing Xarelto to monitor its anticoagulant effect on individual patients with a simple blood test. Since patients taking Xarelto have a higher bleeding risk than patients using other oral anticoagulants, the monitoring is essential to determine if the patient will benefit from the drug or if the drug will exacerbate the already high risk of internal bleeding. The Defendants argued that Xarelto’s label warned of the bleeding risk Dora experienced and that her doctor was aware of that risk. However, their argument failed to address Dora’s allegation that they should have provided doctors with instructions for monitoring, so that question will now be presented to a jury.

Xarelto is FDA approved to prevent strokes for patients with atrial fibrillation, to prevent blood clots forming in post-orthopedic surgery patients, and to treat or prevent deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Janssen and Bayer developed and marketed Xarelto as a more convenient alternative to warfarin and one that did not require coagulation monitoring. Both drugs can cause major internal bleeding and brain hemorrhages. However, while warfarin has an antidote to reverse the blood thinning effects in the event of a bleeding emergency, Janssen and Bayer have not developed a similar antidote for Xarelto.

Joseph VanZandtjpg 250x140 Third Xarelto Trial Begins This WeekLawyers in Beasley Allen’s Mass Torts Section continue to investigate injuries suffered by patients who took Xarelto. Injuries include gastrointestinal, rectal and brain bleeds, and deaths caused by major bleeding events. If you would like more information, contact Joseph VanZandt, a lawyer in the Mass Torts Section. You can reach him at 800-898-2034 or by email at Joseph.Vanzandt@beasleyallen.com.

Sources
RightingInjustice.com
USCourts.gov
US Government Publishing Office

Free Legal Consultation
At Beasley Allen, there is never a fee for legal services, unless we collect for you. Contact us today by filling out a brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number, 1-800-898-2034, for a free, no-cost no-obligation evaluation of your case.

Third Osprey crash in a year, 3 Marines presumed dead

posted on:
August 8, 2017

author:
Mike Andrews

category:
Uncategorized

2 U.S. Marine Corps MV 22 Helicopter U.S. Navy photo by Lt. j.g. Michael Sheehan 314x210 240x140 Third Osprey crash in a year, 3 Marines presumed deadA U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey crashed off the eastern coast of Australia early Saturday morning, NBC News reports. The Osprey was carrying 26 Marines and 23 were recovered safely. The Marine Corps said in a statement that a search for the three missing Marines was suspended, indicating that the three were likely killed during the crash.

The crash is the third Osprey crash in a year and the latest incident that confirms the aircraft’s dangerous and unreliable reputation, as described by the Jere Beasley Report. Last December, five troops were rescued safely when their Osprey crashed off the coast of Okinawa, Japan. The crash deepened local residents’ fears about the aircraft’s questionable safety record. A month later, a U.S. Navy Seal was killed and three others were injured when an Osprey made a “hard landing” during a mission in Yemen, according to The Aviationist. The aircraft, which is also known as “The Widowmaker,” is a hybrid tilt-rotor aircraft that was designed to function as both an airplane and a helicopter.

Saturday’s crash occurred as the aircraft was attempting to land on the USS Green Bay aircraft carrier. The crash also damaged the aircraft carrier, leaving it inoperable. The Osprey was assigned to the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is based at Camp Butler in Okinawa, Japan. It had launched from the USS Bonhomme Richard and was performing regularly-scheduled operations at the time of the crash. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

The latest incident involving yet another Japan-based Marine Corps Osprey has prompted Itsunori Onodera, Japan’s newly-appointed Defense Minister, to ask the U.S. to stop flying the V-22 in Japan, according to Military.com. In December, the U.S. military grounded the entire fleet of V-22s after a similar request by Tomomi Inada, Itsunori’s predecessor. The military is once again contemplating temporarily grounding the fleet.

The aircraft has also been involved in other tragic crashes. For example, a fatal Osprey crash in 2015 left two Marines, 21-year-old Lance Cpl. Matthew Determan and 24-year-old Cpl. Joshua Barron, dead. The Beasley Allen Law Firm and Honolulu, Hawaii lawyer, Melvin Y. Agena, are representing Determan’s family in a wrongful death lawsuit.

The Jere Beasley Report explains that the aircraft’s rotor blades create a more powerful downwash than other rotorcraft. The blades are shorter than optimal so that the Osprey can land on an aircraft carrier. They are also twisted more than a typical helicopter’s blades so that they can function better when flying as an airplane. However, these design flaws can increase the risk of a phenomenon known as the vortex ring state, making the aircraft lose altitude too quickly and preventing it from landing safely. Defects in the V22 engine air filtration system prevent it from operating and landing safely in dusty environments where other transport aircraft (equipped with better and safer filtration systems) regularly operate. Although the military implemented revisions to the aircraft to increase its safety, the growing number of fatal crashes show the design – essentially a compromise between two aircraft that operate completely differently – does not work.

Mike Andrews 250x140 Third Osprey crash in a year, 3 Marines presumed deadMike Andrews, a lawyer in our firm’s Personal Injury & Products Liability Section, handles aviation litigation including several cases involving the Osprey. You can contact him at 800-898-2034 or Mike.Andrews@beasleyallen.com.

 

Sources:
NBC News
U.S. Marine Corps
Jere Beasley Report (January 2017 and March 2017)
The Aviationist
Military.com

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At Beasley Allen, there is never a fee for legal services, unless we collect for you. Contact us today by filling out a brief questionnaire, or by calling our toll free number, 1-800-898-2034, for a free, no-cost no-obligation evaluation of your case.

Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) MDL granted

posted on:
August 4, 2017

author:
Liz Eiland

liz eiland Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) MDL grantedDespite denying their first motion for centralization, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) recently granted the plaintiffs’ second motion for consolidation of Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) claims into a multidistrict litigation (MDL). The MDL will be centralized in the U.S. District for New Jersey because more PPI claims are pending in that court than in any other district. The JPML appointed Judge Claire C. Cecchi to preside over the MDL.

As Beasley Allen previously reported, attorneys for some of the 172 claims against PPI manufacturers filed a new motion with the JPML in June after the panel denied the plaintiffs’ first motion to consolidate earlier this year.

In its latest order, the JPML explained that while the factors that led to the denial of the first motion “remain largely valid,” the addition of a significantly larger number of claims and the burden it places on parties and judicial resources outweigh those factors. The initial denial was based on several factors including the limited number of actions, defendants varying from action to action and defendants being competitors, which would likely require defendant-specific discovery. The panel explained that “[c]entralization will facilitate a uniform and efficient pretrial approach to this litigation… and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel, and the judiciary.”

Plaintiffs are suing PPI manufacturers after developing kidney damage linked to the use of PPIs. Plaintiffs claim the companies should be held accountable for their failure to warn consumers about the drugs’ potential to cause kidney damage. Studies dating back to the 1990s have linked PPIs, including Nexium, Prevacid, and Prilosec, to kidney problems, including Acute Interstitial Nephritis (AIN), which is inflammation in the spaces between the kidney tubules. PPI use has also been linked to an increased risk of Acute Kidney Injury (AKI or Acute Renal Failure) and Chronic Kidney Disease.

The JPML also ruled that all defendants would remain within the MDL. The ruling was in response to the Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. argument that it should be exempt from the MDL. The company argued that because it did not have as many claims against it as the other defendants, it should be excused. The JPML refused to grant this exemption since Takeda was also included in multiple “mixed use claims,” where the plaintiff used more than one PPI manufactured by different defendant drugmakers.

The additional pharmaceutical giants included as defendants in the MDL include: AstraZeneca; Pfizer Inc., (and its subsidiaries Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Wyeth, LLC, and Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories); Procter & Gamble Company; and Novartis Consumer Health, Inc. (and its subsidiaries Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, Inc. and Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research, Inc).

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Lawyers in our firm’s Mass Torts Section are currently investigating cases involving PPI use and AIN, AKI or Acute Renal Failure, and Chronic Kidney Disease. If you would like more information, contact Liz Eiland, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Liz.Eiland@beasleyallen.com.

Sources:
U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
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