$122,000,000 Verdict Involving Product Liability

posted on:
January 15, 2008

author:
Staff

category:
Personal Injury and Product Liability | Landmark Verdict

May, 2002 – An Alabama jury hit General Motors Corp. with a $122 million verdict–$100 million of which was punitive damages–over a 12-year-old boy’s catastrophic head injury in a crash of a 1993 Oldsmobile Delta 88.

The trial judge cut punitive damages to $60 million under Alabama’s cap, which limits punitives to three times compensatories. Reducing the total verdict to $82 million, the judge denied defense motions seeking a new trial. The case is on appeal at the Alabama Supreme Court.

Now 15, Jeffrey Jernigan was riding in the front seat wearing a seat belt when the Delta 88 driven by his brother was hit head-on by a Pontiac Grand Prix. The Grand Prix, a smaller car, fared better in the crash, said lead Plaintiffs’ attorney J. Greg Allen, a partner at Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles of Montgomery, Ala. Jeffrey fractured his skull and had brain surgery, which left him with no concept of danger and no inhibitions. He needs constant supervision, said Allen. The boy was a superior student with plans to become a cardiac surgeon, he said.

The plaintiffs alleged that GM changed the car’s passenger-door beams and other framing designs for the 1992 and 1993 model years to cut costs, but knew in 1991 that the changes affected the vehicle’s crashworthiness. The plaintiffs presented GM crash-test documents to illustrate their claim that the company knew from its own tests that front-seat passengers were at risk of serious head injuries after the design was changed, said Allen. A GM engineer testified the tests indicated that the redesigned Delta 88 had a likelihood of causing a serious head injury, Allen said.

Defender Robert D. Hays of King & Spalding in Atlanta says the high speeds of the colliding vehicles–approaching 100 mph–was what made the accident so catastrophic. "Anybody in any car is going to have a 50-50 chance of being killed or seriously injured with that kind of speed," he said.

The defense also will argue that the judge excluded important evidence explaining the car’s crashworthiness ranking–four out of five stars–and Ford’s own crash testing, which, Hays said, showed that the car performed better than the car the plaintiffs alleged had a superior design.

 

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Beasley Allen representing Houston County against opioid companies

posted on:
December 14, 2017

author:
Staff

opioid oxycodone Shutterstock Beasley Allen representing Houston County against opioid companiesBeasley Allen has filed the second lawsuit in as many days against opioid manufacturers and distributors. The complaint filed on behalf of Houston County, Alabama, alleges the marketing of these drugs contributed to the creation of the opioid epidemic, a public health and safety crisis. Responding to the opioid crisis has required Houston County to sustain economic damages and to continue to bear a significant financial burden. On Dec. 13, Beasley Allen filed a similar lawsuit on behalf of the City of Greenville, Alabama. Houston County is represented by Beasley Allen lawyers Rhon E. Jones, who is head of the firm’s Toxic Torts Section, Rick Stratton, Will Sutton and Ryan Kral.

“These lawsuits demonstrate how communities are struggling under the burden of the opioid epidemic,” Jones said. “This is a crisis created by the pharmaceutical industry, which instead of investigating suspicious orders of prescription opiates, turned a blind eye in favor of making a profit. They intentionally misled doctors and the public about the risks of these dangerous drugs, and municipal governments are left struggling to cope with the consequences.”

Economic damages resulting from the opioid epidemic include costs for providing medical care, therapeutic care and treatments for patients suffering from opioid-related addiction or disease, including overdoses and deaths; costs for providing counseling and rehabilitation services; costs for treating infants born with opioid-related medical conditions; public safety and law enforcement expenses; and care for children whose parents suffer from opioid-related disability or incapacitation.

Defendants include Purdue Pharma L.P.; Purdue Pharma, Inc.; The Purdue Frederick Company, Inc.; Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, LTD.; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.; Cephalon, Inc.; Johnson & Johnson; Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. n/k/a Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Janssen Pharmaceutica Inc. n/k/a Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Noramco, Inc.; Endo Health Solutions Inc.; Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Allergan PLC f/k/a Actavis PLS; Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. n/k/a Actavis, Inc.; Watson Laboratories, Inc.; Actavis, LLC; Actavis Pharm a, Inc. f/k/a Watson Pharma, Inc.; Mallinckrodt plc; Mallinckrodt LLC; McKesson Corporation; Cardinal Health, Inc.; and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation.
The complaint is filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.

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A Christmas present safety guide from the North Pole

posted on:
December 14, 2017

author:
Staff

Santa list naughty nice Christmas A Christmas present safety guide from the North PoleAs the song goes, “You better watch out. You better not cry. Better not pout. I’m telling you why. Santa Claus is coming to town.” Saint Nick’s big night is quickly approaching. He’s making his list and checking it twice.

Which list you ask? His toy safety list, of course. How else would Santa make sure he has the perfect gift for each girl and boy? He’s kindly provided us with his pro tips from the North Pole as we work on buying the perfect gift for everyone on our gift lists. Check out a few of Kris Kringle’s toy safety tips below:

  • Buy Age-Appropriate Toys – Check the label before buying to make sure the gift recipient can safely handle the toy. Avoid toys with small parts – think anything with parts that can fit through a toilet paper tube – for children younger than age 3, including fidget spinners and small bouncy balls. Keep deflated balloons from children younger than age 8 and avoid sharp edges or points on toys.
  • Check For Toxins – Toys can contain elevated levels of lead and even asbestos. A recent study from U.S. PIRG Education FUND, a nonprofit that works to protect consumer interests, tested fidget spinners from Target and found two distributed by i Toy LLC “contained extremely high levels of lead,” which can negatively impact physical and cognitive development.
  • Think Twice About High-Powered Magnets – Though they may look like a fun time for children, high-powered magnet sets should be kept away from those younger than age 14. These magnets can attach to each other inside a child’s body if they are swallowed and can cause internal perforations. “These aren’t like normal magnets. If they’re swallowed, they can cause serious, lifelong injuries or even death,” said William Wallace, policy analyst for Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization division of Consumer Reports.
  • Ride Safely – Make sure you have the right size helmets and safety gear for children who are receiving bikes, scooters, skateboards, skates and hoverboards. Ensure they are worn properly.
  • Beware of Explosive Batteries – Lithium ion batteries have exploded in devices such as smartphones, electronic cigarettes and hoverboards. Using a third-party charger could increase the risk of a device exploding. Be sure to keep the batteries out of the reach of children.
  • Fly Drones Safely – Just like with a sleigh, flying a drone makes you a pilot under Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. Always fly a drone below 400 feet and keep it within your line of sight. Don’t fly over groups of people, stadiums, sports events, near emergency response efforts or other aircraft. For additional drone safety information visit, the FAA’s unmanned aircraft page.

As this list shows, all the toys from Santa’s workshop are held to the highest quality standards, and the rest of us must take precautions to make sure our Christmas gifts bring nothing but joy, too. Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website for recalled toys and additional product safety information.

Sources:
Consumer Product Safety Commission
CNN
U.S. PIRG Education FUND
Consumer Reports
Beasley Allen
Federal Aviation Administration

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Beasley Allen recognizes firm’s Litigator of the Year, leading lawyers

posted on:
December 13, 2017

author:
Staff

category:
Community

Mike Andrews Beasley Allen recognizes firms Litigator of the Year, leading lawyersBeasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., announced Mike Andrews was selected as the firm’s Litigator of the Year for 2017. The annual recognition is presented to the attorney who demonstrates exceptional professional skill throughout the course of the year and best represents the firm’s ideal of “helping those who need it most.” Mike practices in the firm’s Personal Injury and Products Liability Section. He handles complex product liability cases involving serious injury or death and has handled several cases against manufacturers of aircraft, light and heavy trucks, automobiles, and agricultural and construction equipment.

In addition to selecting the overall “top attorney,” Beasley Allen recognized excellence in its four sections, naming the Lawyer(s) of the Year in each. Honorees for 2017 are LaBarron Boone, Personal Injury Section Lawyer of the Year; Leslie Pescia, Fraud Section Lawyer of the Year; Leigh O’Dell and Ted Meadows, Mass Torts Section Lawyers of the Year; and Rick Stratton, Toxic Torts Section Lawyer of the Year.

“I am honored to work with a group of such outstanding lawyers who make it their personal duty to take good care of their clients,” firm founder Jere Beasley said. “Our attorneys receiving these awards know the value of exceptional work. As members of the Beasley Allen team, they do an excellent job of providing our clients with their best and working with colleagues and staff to seek justice. We are blessed to have them here at the firm. These are recognitions that are well-deserved.”

In addition to the professional awards given each year, the Board of Directors elects to recognize an attorney each year in memory of Beasley Allen lawyer Chad Stewart, who passed away in 2014. The Chad Stewart Award was created to recognize a lawyer who best exemplifies Chad’s spirit of service to God, his family and the practice of law in the task of “helping those who need it most.” The 2017 Chad Stewart Award was presented to Andy Birchfield. He is the head of the firm’s Mass Torts. He is an attorney dedicated to his clients and focused on helping others.

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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.

Beasley Allen files lawsuit related to opioid epidemic for City of Greenville

posted on:
December 13, 2017

author:
Staff

opioid oxycodone Shutterstock Beasley Allen files lawsuit related to opioid epidemic for City of GreenvilleLawyers from Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., have filed a lawsuit on behalf of the City of Greenville, Alabama, against a number of manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioid medications. The complaint alleges the marketing of these drugs contributed to the creation of the opioid epidemic, a public health and safety crisis, and as a result of responding to the opioid crisis within its communities the City of Greenville has sustained economic damages and continues to incur a significant financial burden. The City of Greenville is represented by Beasley Allen lawyers Rhon E. Jones, who is head of the firm’s Toxic Torts Section, Rick Stratton, Will Sutton and Ryan Kral.

“These manufacturers aggressively pushed highly addictive, dangerous opioids, turning patients into addicts for their own corporate profits,” Jones said. “The manufacture and distribution of these dangerous drugs, along with the intentional misrepresentation to doctors and the public about their risks, breached these companies’ legal duties under federal and state law. Rather than investigate suspicious orders of prescription opiates, they simply pocketed the profits at the expense of the public.”

Economic damages resulting from the opioid epidemic include costs for providing medical care, therapeutic care and treatments for patients suffering from opioid-related addiction or disease, including overdoses and deaths; costs for providing counseling and rehabilitation services; costs for treating infants born with opioid-related medical conditions; public safety and law enforcement expenses; and care for children whose parents suffer from opioid-related disability or incapacitation.

Defendants include Purdue Pharma L.P.; Purdue Pharma, Inc.; The Purdue Frederick Company, Inc.; Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, LTD.; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.; Cephalon, Inc.; Johnson & Johnson; Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. n/k/a Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Janssen Pharmaceutica Inc. n/k/a Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Noramco, Inc.; Endo Health Solutions Inc.; Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Allergan PLC f/k/a Actavis PLS; Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. n/k/a Actavis, Inc.; Watson Laboratories, Inc.; Actavis, LLC; Actavis Pharm a, Inc. f/k/a Watson Pharma, Inc.; Mallinckrodt plc; Mallinckrodt LLC; McKesson Corporation; Cardinal Health, Inc.; and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation.

The complaint is filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, case number 2:17-CV-836.

For more information about litigation related to the opioid epidemic, contact Rhon Jones, Toxic Torts Section Head, at 800-898-2034 or email Rhon.Jones@beasleyallen.com.

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.

More than 3,000 lawsuits pending against Cook Medical IVC filters

posted on:
December 13, 2017

author:
Melissa Prickett

melissa prickett1 More than 3,000 lawsuits pending against Cook Medical IVC filtersThe U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) reports that there are 3,081 lawsuits pending against Cook Medical, Inc. (Cook), in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) over the company’s retrievable inferior vena cava (IVC) filters.

Retrievable IVC filters are used as an alternative in trauma patients when they are unable to take blood thinners. The cage-like device is used to help prevent venous thromboembolism, such as deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. It 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.

Patients have filed lawsuits nationwide against Cook and other IVC filter manufacturers because the design is more fragile than that of their predecessors – permanent IVC filters. Fragmented pieces of retrievable IVC filters can travel through the body perforating or puncturing organs and causing other potentially life-threating injuries. In one study, the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology reports, Cook’s Celect and Gunther Tulip IVC filters have 49 percent and 43 percent perforation rates, respectively.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned in August 2010 that retrievable IVC filters should be implanted only for short-term use because of the adverse effects linked to the devices, as Beasley Allen previously reported. Following the FDA safety warning, filter placements dropped by 29 percent. Yet, the rate of IVC filter placement remains significantly higher in the U.S. than in five large European countries.

The Cook MDL is located in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District for Indiana. Another IVC filter MDL has consolidated 3,085 claims against C.R. Bard, Inc. That is pending in U.S. District Court in Arizona, according to the JPML, while cases involving Cordis IVC filters are consolidated in California state court.

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:
U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
Beasley Allen
Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology

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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.

International Agency for Research on Cancer finalizes benzene carcinogenicity

posted on:
December 11, 2017

author:
John Tomlinson

john tomlinson International Agency for Research on Cancer finalizes benzene carcinogenicityIn October, 27 scientists from around the world met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a working group to finalize their assessment of benzene’s link to cancer, the Lancet Oncology reports.

The earliest evidence of the toxic chemical’s link to cancer dates back to the late 1920s, though the carcinogenicity link was not conclusively proven until 1979 through the use of animal studies. The working group this year reviewed important new findings “from several large occupational cohort studies” offering more evidence of the link between occupational benzene exposure and cancer, specifically AML and acute non-lymphocytic leukemia.

Beasley Allen has previously reported that prolonged exposure to benzene, such as in the workplace, is a risk factor for the development of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), which begins as Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS).

Benzene is a solvent used in the rubber industry, oil refineries, chemical plants, shoe manufacturing, and gasoline-related industries, and is also found in cigarette smoke, gasoline and motor vehicle exhaust, and some glues, cleaning products, detergents, art supplies, and paints. Workers within these industries are at a higher risk of benzene exposure.

The sweet-smelling toxic chemical can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin or eyes, as Beasley Allen has discussed. Those who develop AML may not initially be aware they are displaying symptoms of the disease. This is because the symptoms, including fever, feeling tired, and easy bruising or bleeding present gradually and can be easily linked to other more common conditions. A combination of blood and bone marrow tests is used to diagnose AML.

* * *

If you would like more information about benzene exposure and benzene-related cancers such as AML, you can contact John Tomlinson, a lawyer in our Toxic Torts Section. He can be reached at 800-898-2034 or by email John.Tomlinson@beasleyallen.com. You can also find more information at www.benzene-exposure.com.

Sources:
The Lancet Oncology
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.

CFTC whistleblower program finally gaining steam

posted on:
December 8, 2017

author:
Archie Grubb

category:
Fraud

archie grubb1 CFTC whistleblower program finally gaining steamThe Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) whistleblower program has seen a surge of activity in the past few months, and the agency expects to pay whistleblower awards of $45.5 million.

Speaking at a recent conference in Washington D.C., CFTC Whistleblower Office director Christopher Ehrman said “This year for us is going to be huge.”

“As of Sept. 30, 2017, the Commission has determined that it is probable that it will make whistleblower awards of approximately $45.5 million as a result of valid whistleblower claims on Commission-imposed sanctions that have already been collected,” an independent auditor’s report commissioned by the CFTC Office of Inspector General stated on Oct. 27, according to Forbes.

Payouts of $45.5 million would be a record for the CFTC since its whistleblower program was created under the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010. In fact, the figure is more than four times the total amount the CFTC has paid to informants since its whistleblower program launched.

According to Forbes, the CFTC’s whistleblower program still lags behind the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) whistleblower program, which was also created by Dodd-Frank to combat the rampant Wall Street fraud that dragged the U.S. into an economic crisis in 2008.

However, annual increases in reports submitted to the CFTC whistleblower program indicate that more and more people are becoming familiar with it and its potential benefits.

In May, the CFTC announced it that its board unanimously approved measures to make it less risky for would-be whistleblowers to call out fraud and other wrongdoing. These measures prohibit employers from retaliating against whistleblowers and allow employees to sue their employer for whistleblower-related retaliation.

Additionally, the new measures also give the CFTC authority to take enforcement action against any employer that retaliates against its employees for whistleblowing activity. Like the SEC’s whistleblower program, the CFTC does not disclose any information about a case that could reveal a whistleblower’s identity.

The CFTC pays monetary awards to whistleblowers ranging from 10 to 30 percent of the total sanctions when those sanctions top $1 million.

According to Forbes, some of the whistleblower reports the CFTC received last year related to “virtual currency trading, spoofing, market manipulation, false reporting, misrepresentations to customers regarding the handling of their accounts, fraud involving foreign currency exchanges, Ponzi schemes and other off-exchange investment scams involving futures.”

* * *

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:
CFTC
Forbes

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.

76 years after Pearl Harbor: technology advancements for military-related TBI

posted on:
December 7, 2017

author:
Mike Andrews

Mike Andrews 76 years after Pearl Harbor: technology advancements for military related TBIToday we honor the 2,402 military personnel and civilians killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor 76 years ago, which launched the U.S. into World War II. As we honor their courage, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by our veterans and active-duty service members to defend the freedom and values Americans hold dear. While some return with very visible reminders of their sacrifices, others return with less apparent wounds, such as Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs).

Beasley Allen has previously described a TBI as a “blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the function of the brain.” It has become the signature injury of the of the more recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center notes that 361,092 military-related TBIs, or mTBIs, have been reported since 2000. However, the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) explains that “[t]he first large-scale evidence of military-related mTBI occurred in World War I… in association with the frequent use of high explosives in trench warfare.”

In the more than seven decades following Pearl Harbor, the military has invested significant resources in researching mTBIs, including how to quickly diagnose and treat the injuries. These injuries can have long-lasting effects on service members, which has raised concerns among military leaders regarding the health and safety of individual service members, the level of unit readiness, and troop retention.

Most recently, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) contracted with Neural Analytics, Inc. to develop the Lucid System, a device “designed to measure and monitor physical signs of TBI,” according to Army Times. With a half hour of training, ideally, the device and software will give troops the capability to more effectively diagnose mTBIs and their severity and take swift action to save more lives on the battlefield. The estimated completion date is within 18 months, or by March 2019.

While there is no effective treatment or intervention for TBIs, the NCBI reports that hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) may be promising. While the therapy remains an experimental treatment for TBI, it has shown beneficial results in stroke patients and varying results in people suffering PTSD and TBIs.

Last week, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin announced that the VA will begin offering HBOT to a limited number of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – even though the treatment is still considered off-label for treating the condition, according to Task and Purpose. The military will monitor the results to determine the treatment’s effectiveness in patients with PTSD.

The step could open the treatment up in the future to those suffering from mTBI since researchers have found evidence linking the two conditions. One study of active-duty Marines reported by JAMA Psychiatry found that “[e]ven when accounting for predeployment symptoms, prior TBI, and combat intensity, TBI during the most recent deployment is the strongest predictor of postdeployment PTSD symptoms.”

With new technology and more awareness about the less visual wounds of war, veterans and active-duty service members may have more opportunities to address injuries that resulted in conditions such as mTBIs. Yet, more can and must be done to better protect those who sacrifice so much for our freedom.

* * *

Mike Andrews, a lawyer in our firm’s Personal Injury & Products Liability Section, handles cases involving traumatic brain injuries. You can contact him at 800-898-2034 or Mike.Andrews@beasleyallen.com.

Sources:
Business Insider
Beasley Allen
Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center
National Center for Biotechnology Information
Army Times
Task and Purpose
JAMA Psychiatry

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.

More data links PPIs to kidney disease, failure

posted on:
December 6, 2017

author:
Tiffany Roberts

tiffany roberts More data links PPIs to kidney disease, failureData from a recent analysis of studies examining the link between kidney disease and patients using proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) shows a 33 percent increase in risk of developing chronic kidney disease or kidney failure compared to non-PPI users, Eurekalert reports. The outlet cites the American Society of Nephrology (ASN), which presented the findings at its latest ASN Kidney Week conference last month.

PPIs are heartburn drugs that have been on the market since the 1980s, as Beasley Allen has previously explained. They are used to treat acid-related disorders such as stomach ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and acid reflux. Studies dating to the 1990s link PPI use to kidney disease and failure. One study from 1992 linked the drugs to Acute Interstitial Nephritis (AIN), inflammation in the spaces between the kidney tubules. Additional studies later linked the drugs to an increased risk of Acute Kidney Injury (AKI or Acute Renal Failure) and Chronic Kidney Disease.

Charat Thongprayoon, MD from the Bassett Medical Center led a team of researchers that analyzed five published studies reporting the risk of chronic kidney disease or kidney failure among PPI users compared with non-users. There were a combined 536,902 eligible participants included in the meta-analysis.

Dr. Thongprayoon explained that the “study demonstrates a significant association between the use of PPIs and increased risks of chronic kidney disease and kidney failure.” He also warned doctors to use caution when prescribing PPIs, especially for chronic use.

The class of drugs is among the most commonly prescribed worldwide and includes Prilosec, Prevacid and Nexium, as Beasley Allen has discussed.

There are 315 lawsuits now pending in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, according to the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. Plaintiffs are suing PPI manufacturers including Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.; 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). The plaintiffs argue that the drugmakers failed to warn consumers about the drugs’ potential to cause kidney damage.

* * *

Lawyers in our firm’s Mass Torts Section are currently investigating cases for people who used PPIs and developed AIN, AKI or Acute Renal Failure, or Chronic Kidney Disease. If you would like more information, contact Tiffany Roberts at 800-898-2034 or by email at Tiffany.Roberts@beasleyallen.com.

Sources:
Eurekalert/ American Society of Nephrology
Beasley Allen
U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation

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.

FLSA protects employees during busy holiday employment season

posted on:
December 5, 2017

author:
Leon Hampton

category:
Fraud

Leon Hampton FLSA protects employees during busy holiday employment seasonOnce again, that special time of year is upon us. The parties, presents and packages take center stage as we wind down our year and gear up for the next. With the seasonal fun comes the annual hustle and bustle to buy the perfect gift and get it to its destination. It’s that hustle and bustle that creates changes in the workforce. Employees often pick up extra shifts or an additional seasonal job during this end-of-the year rush, highlighting the importance of knowing employee legal protections.

For businesses, this is often their busiest time of year. The United States Postal Service is expecting to deliver more than 15 billion pieces of mail this season, a 10 percent increase from the last, and will have to hire additional employees to meet the temporary demand. UPS and FedEx are in the same boat. UPS plans to hire roughly 95,000 temporary workers, and FedEx is planning to add more than 50,000 seasonal workers to its payroll.

As for retail stores, Target plans to hire 100,000 seasonal workers, and even though it has filed for bankruptcy, Toys R Us is hiring 12,000 part-time workers. In a break from previous years, Wal-Mart has opted this year to increase the hours of its part-time staff up to 40 hours a week in order to meet the holiday demand.

According to The Washington Post, the move comes as a way to reduce criticism about keeping employees from full-time work and reduces the costs of hiring and training a temporary workforce. Of course, the new policy has raised questions about its implementation. As Randy Parraz, director of Making Change at Walmart, told The Post, “It’s one thing to offer more hours. It’s another thing to mandate them.”

With the workforce changes occurring during the holidays, what laws come into play? The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) “establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor. It sets the federal minimum wage at $7.25 an hour and dictates that overtime pay is no less than one and one-half times employees’ regular pay for more than 40 hours of work a week. It even technically defines a workweek as a period of 168 hours during 7 consecutive 24-hour periods.

The FLSA covers most employees in America, including those hired as seasonal help, because it applies to workers engaged in interstate commerce, which clearly includes businesses where products are made or sold. But it also includes employees who work “in any closely related process or occupation directly essential to such production.” This can include communication employees, transportation employees and even employees who regularly use the mail or a telephone for interstate communication. However, some employees are classified as exempt from the minimum wage and/or overtime pay provisions. These can include executive, administrative and professional employees.

Some companies try to increase their profit margins by not properly paying overtime to qualifying employees, misclassifying employees to avoid paying overtime or not paying workers for time spent performing tasks they are required to do for work, such as putting on and taking off protective gear.

Unfortunately, misclassifying employees to avoid paying overtime and other work-arounds are far too common. All year – but especially during this season when people are picking up more shifts, extra hours and even extra jobs – it is important for employees to know they have rights under the FLSA.

* * *

Leon Hampton is a lawyer in the Firm’s Consumer Fraud section. He works on cases involving class action lawsuits, employment law and whistleblower claims. For more information about FLSA laws or other issues of employment law, contact Leon at 800-898-2034 or email Leon.Hampton@beasleyallen.com.

Sources:
USA Today
The Washington Post
U.S. Department of Labor

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.
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