The dangers of settling your injury case without talking to a lawyer

By William J. Price

A careless driver crashed into your car. Your injuries sent you to the hospital and kept you out of work for a month. You ask the driver’s insurance carrier to begin paying for your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses their client caused. There’s a good chance they’ll tell you it’s not their problem.

Continue reading “The dangers of settling your injury case without talking to a lawyer”

Actos Bladder Cancer Settlement

Pharmaceutical giant Takeda has agreed to a $2.4 billion settlement to compensate plaintiffs who allege they developed bladder cancer after taking the diabetes medication, Actos® (pioglitazone).

Takeda Pharmaceuticals has agreed to settle Actos® claims for $2.4 billion.Officials at Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. said the offer will resolve a “vast majority” of the more than 8,000 Actos bladder cancer claims. In a press release, the company explained, “The settlement will become effective if 95 percent of current litigants and claimants opt into the settlement. Once that threshold is achieved, Takeda will pay $2.37 billion into a settlement fund. However, that figure will rise to $2.4 billion if 97 percent or more of the current litigants and claimants opt to participate in the settlement.”

Under those terms, each plaintiff would be entitled to roughly $296,000, with individual breakdowns based on specific criteria such as smoking history, duration of ingestion, and severity of injuries. That may seem like a lot of money; nevertheless, with jurors awarding a single plaintiff $9 billion in an Actos case last year (that verdict was eventually reduced to $36 million), some people may decide not to participate in the settlement and pursue their claims individually.

In that case[1], U.S. District Judge Rebecca Doherty of the Western District of Louisiana chided Takeda and co-defendant, Eli Lilly, for their deplorable behavior and explained the reason for the significant punitive damages:

When, as here, two defendants have been found to have engaged in conduct of a high degree of reprehensibility and put not only the plaintiffs, but the public health and welfare at risk, all in order to generate tens of billions of dollars in sales, an award large enough to sufficiently punish in order to effectively deter such conduct would seem to be warranted.

According to court documents, more than 100 million prescriptions have been written for Actos in the United States, with more than $24 billion in cumulative sales since the drug went on sale in 1999.

Am I eligible for compensation under the Actos Settlement Program?

According to information posted on the District Court of the Western District of Louisiana’s website, The Program is open to claimants who fit all of the following criteria:

  • Allege that they have bladder cancer;
  • First used Actos prior to December 1, 2011
  • Either have a lawsuit currently pending or retained counsel to assert a claim within 3 days of the announcement of the settlement (i.e., by noon EDT on Friday, May 1, 2015)

Plaintiffs who do not qualify for the Settlement Program may still be eligible to file a claim.
Contact an experienced Actos Injury Lawyer today to discuss your case.



Takeda Agrees to Pay $2.4 Billion to Settle Suits Over Cancer Risk of Actos” by Andrew Pollack. New York Times, April 28, 2015.

Takeda, Lilly Win 99.6% Cut in Actos Punitive Damages” by Jef Feeley. Bloomberg News, October 28, 2014.


[1] Allen v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America Inc., 12-cv-00064, U.S. District Court, Western District of Louisiana (Lafayette)

Litigation Update: Transvaginal Mesh & Bladder Slings

For women struggling with incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and other problems, surgical treatments such as a bladder sling or other procedures using transvaginal mesh (TVM) seemed like a dream come true. Pharmaceutical companies claimed their mesh products would shore up weakened pelvic muscles—supporting internal organs and reducing embarrassing accidents.

Large verdicts and settlements in pelvic mesh cases.Sadly, for thousands of women, the dream of a normal life quickly turned into a nightmare. The mesh that doctors had inserted to support their organs began to degrade and shrink, resulting in painful consequences. The FDA received thousands of complaints, including instances of perforated tissue, damaged organs and pain during intercourse. Additionally, many women were forced to undergo multiple revision surgeries to repair problems caused by transvaginal mesh.

Tens of thousands of lawsuits have been filed against Ethicon (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson), American Medical Systems, Boston Scientific, C.R. Bard, Coloplast, Cook Medical, Neomedic, and other vaginal-mesh manufacturers. Although each case must be judged on its own merits, many large verdicts and settlements have been reported.

Transvaginal Mesh Litigation: Recent Events

  • Sept 2014 – A federal jury in West Virginia awarded $3.27 million to a woman injured by a J&J Ethicon mesh implant
  • Nov 2014 – Federal juries in Florida and West Virginia ordered Boston Scientific to pay a total of $45.2 million in damages to eight women who alleged the company’s mesh implants injured them
  • Dec 2014 – Federal judge urged C.R. Bard Inc. to settle thousands of TVM lawsuits because juries may award billions of dollars in damages.
  • January 2015 – J&J’s Ethicon division settles four cases for an undisclosed amount.
  • March 2015 – J&J ordered to pay $5.7 million, including $5 million in punitive damages to a woman injured by their Abbrevo vaginal mesh implant.
  • May 2015 – Boston Scientific ordered to pay $100 million ($25 million in compensatory damages, $75 million in punitive damages) to a woman injured by their Pinnacle and Advantage Fit mesh products.

While these numbers seem very encouraging, it is important to remember that actual damages may vary, based on the extent of injuries and other factors, and not all cases have had favorable results. Women who have suffered physical injuries, endured emotional distress, or incurred financial loss due to pelvic mesh surgery should contact an experienced personal injury attorney today to discuss their case.




Jury hits Ethicon with $3.25 mln verdict in mesh case” by Jessica Dye, Reuters, September 5, 2014

Bard Judge Says Implant Maker Facing Billions in Verdicts” by Jef Feely, Bloomberg News, December 11, 2014.

Johnson & Johnson to settle four cases over vaginal-mesh implantsLos Angeles Times/Bloomberg News, January 22, 2015.

Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $5.7 million in California mesh trial” by Jessica Dye, Reuters, March 5, 2015.

Boston Scientific ordered to pay $100 million in transvaginal mesh trial” by Jessica Dye, Reuters, May 28, 2015.

$100M NuvaRing Settlement

There may finally be a resolution for the thousands of NuvaRing iStock_000010165267Small® users who filed product-liability claims against Merck & Co., alleging the contraceptive device caused blood clots that caused heart attacks, or led to death in some cases. Last week, the pharmaceutical giant announced it would pay $100 million to resolve nearly 4,000 cases, with an estimated average payout of $58,000.

NuvaRing is a vaginal contraceptive ring, which releases the hormones estrogen and progestin. While all combined hormonal contraceptives carry risks, independent studies show that women using NuvaRing are twice as likely to develop venous thrombosis (blood clots in a vein) compared with women using oral birth control pills.

More than 3,800 lawsuits have been filed in state and federal courts in Missouri and New Jersey, claiming Merck put profits over safety and failed to provide proper warnings on the NuvaRing label.

Although the settlement does not include any admission of fault, plaintiff’s attorney Kristine Kraft said, “I believe this is an outstanding and favorable settlement for the women who have been harmed as a result of their use of NuvaRing.”

Merck’s offer is contingent upon at least 95 percent of the eligible claimants opting into the program. If more than 5 percent of plaintiffs refuse the settlement, Merck can rescind the offer, forcing the injured parties to wait even longer for an uncertain outcome.

While many victims of negligence want their day in court, mounting medical bills and other costs can make a quick settlement seem like an attractive offer. If you have been injured due to a dangerous drug or defective medical device, it is important to speak to an experienced attorney to discuss your individual circumstances.



Merck to Pay $100 Million NuvaRing Pact If Women Join” by Jef Feeley and David Voreacos, Bloomberg News, February 8, 2014.

Whistleblowers Receive $168 Million

In one of the largest payouts in history, people from three states will be taking home a share of the $167.7 million awarded to whistleblowers for exposing Johnson & Johnson’s use of improper marketing and kickbacks.

$2 Billion Settlement

In a press conference yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters that Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and three of its subsidiaries reached an agreement to pay more than $2.2 billion to resolve criminal and civil claims. J&J was accused of marketing prescription drugs for uses that were never approved and paying kickbacks to physicians, pharmacies, and nursing homes.

The settlement agreements with the U.S. Department of Justice and 45 states involve J&J’s anti-psychotic drugs Risperdal and Invega, and the heart failure drug Natrecor. J&J subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, admitted in a criminal plea agreement that it promoted the off-label use Risperdal to health care providers for the treatment of elderly patients who suffered from dementia, even though the drug was only approved to treat schizophrenia.


Risperdal has many serious side effects, including tardive dyskinesia (drug-induced abnormal movements), diabetes, pancreatitis, metabolic disorders, and gynecomastia (abnormal breast tissue growth in boys). The off-label use of Risperdal and other anti-psychotics to deal with challenging nursing home patients and children with ADHD or other behavior disorders has been referred to as a “chemical lobotomy.”

“[T]hese companies lined their pockets at the expense of American taxpayers, patients, and the private insurance industry,” said Holder. He went on to say that J&J’s alleged conduct “…recklessly put at risk the health of some of the most vulnerable members of our society – including young children, the elderly, and the disabled.”

Johnson & Johnson was quick to assuage shareholder anxieties, telling investors through a press release that the settlement was not an admission of any liability or wrongdoing and that the company denies the government’s civil allegations.

In a separate matter, a three-judge panel recently ruled that a whistleblower case against J&J and its subsidiary Ehicon could proceed. Joel Lippman, former vice president of clinical trials for J&J’s unit Ethicon, claims he was fired in 2006 for raising concerns about the safety and effectiveness of the Ortho-Evra birth control patch and other products.

Whistleblowing claims

The False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 – 3733 allows any person (called a “relator”) to bring a claim alleging fraud on behalf of the government. The act of filing such actions is known in the legal community as qui tam, but is commonly referred to as “whistleblowing.” Persons filing whistleblower claims usually receive about 15-25 percent of any recovered damages, but that amount may be higher or lower depending on specific circumstances.

Whistleblowing claims may also be filed under numerous other acts. For example, OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program enforces the whistleblower provisions of more than twenty whistleblower statutes protecting employees who report violations of various workplace safety, airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health insurance reform, motor vehicle safety, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, and securities laws.

The statute of limitations on such claims can be as little as 30 days. Therefore, in order to preserve your claim, it is important to contact a qualified attorney and file a claim with OSHA as soon as possible.



$168 million payout to Johnson & Johnson whistleblowers” by Gregory Wallace, Money CNN, November 4, 2013.

J.&J. to Pay $2.2 Billion in Risperdal Settlement” by Katie Thomas, New York Times, November 4, 2013.

Additional documents and resources relating to the civil and criminal allegations are available on the U.S. Department of Justice website.

Johnson & Johnson Considers $3 Billion Settlement

Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson is reportedly contemplating a massive settlement agreement with patients injured by their DuPuy unit’s ASR Hip Implant. Bloomberg News reports that “five people familiar with the matter” revealed that J&J may be willing to pay more than $300,000 per case, pushing the total settlement amount over $3 billion if most plaintiffs accept the offer.

In August 2010, DePuy Orthopaedics, a division of Johnson & Johnson, issued a voluntary recall of its ASR™ XL Acetabular Hip System and DePuy ASR™ Hip Resurfacing System. According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the recall was due to the high failure rates associated with the metal-on-metal hip replacement devices.

More than 11,500 lawsuits have been filed against J&J in the U.S., with plaintiffs alleging the metal-on-metal implants caused a number of serious complications, including pain, swelling, and metallosis (a build-up of metal debris in the soft tissue of the body) which sometimes resulted in revision surgery to replace the failing hip.

Too Early to Guess

Two individual trials involving DePuy ASR recall claims have already concluded in other states with split results. In March of this year, a plaintiff was awarded more than $8 million after a California jury found that the ASR implant was defectively designed. However, just a few weeks later, a jury in Chicago found in favor of Johnson & Johnson in a second trial.

No official word has come from Johnson & Johnson regarding a settlement ahead of litigation. DuPuy representative Laurie Gawreluk issued an email stating, “Reports about a possible resolution of the litigation are premature and speculative, including any estimates of resolution amounts.”

Several consolidated federal cases will soon be heard around the country. The Court has scheduled McCracken v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., Case No 1:11 dp 20485, to be the first bellwether trial. The case will be heard on September 9, 2013 at the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio (Cleveland).

Stryker Hip Implant Recall

In July of 2012, two other types of hip systems were also recalled.  The Rejuvenate Modular Primary Hip System and Rejuvenate Total Hip System, both manufactured by the Stryker Corporation, were recalled due to possible side effects similar to those seen in metal-on-metal hip implants.

Design issues are a key factor in these devices, but so is the choice of materials. Using the combination of titanium and cobalt chromium in a modular implant can result in corrosion. In addition, it exposes patients to potential multi-organ injuries from the release of heavy metals into the body. A study of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Adverse Event database reveals Stryker Rejuvenate Modular Hip System has been linked to a number of problems and has caused injuries to patients, as well as requiring painful additional surgical operations to remove the devices.

If you have experienced pain and discomfort as a result of a Stryker hip implant, please call our medical device attorneys today. We can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year at 1-800-ELK-OHIO or just fill out our easy no-obligation online contact form.



J&J Said to Weigh $3 Billion Settlement of Its Hip Implant Cases” by Jef Feeley & David Voreacos, Bloomberg News, August 21, 2013.

$4.1m Settlement for Student Abandoned in DEA Facility

The U.S. Government agrees to pay Daniel Chong $4.1 million after ‘accidentally’ leaving him locked in a room for five days with no food or water.

Last year Daniel Chong was a student at UC San Diego, and on April 20th, like many college students, he and some friends decided to get high. Unfortunately for the group, the house they went to for the drugs was under surveillance and they soon found themselves swept up in a raid conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

key hole

Whether or not you agree with Chong’s decision to smoke marijuana, what happened next is simply appalling. After being questioned by DEA agents, Chong was told no charges would be filed against him and that he’d be released soon. Still in handcuffs, Chong was placed into a locked interrogation room and left there… for five days. Five days with: no food, no water, no toilet, no human contact, and for the last 48 hours, no light.

When DEA employees finally found him, Chong was severely dehydrated and having trouble breathing. With no toilet facilities available, Chong was forced to drink his own urine to stay alive. He lost 15 pounds during the horrific ordeal and had to be hospitalized for 5 days due to kidney failure and a perforated esophagus. The event has had a lasting effect on Chong, who still receives psychological therapy for his PTSD.

What does the settlement accomplish?

In an out-of-court settlement reached this week, the federal government agreed to pay Chong $4.1 million for his maltreatment claim. But what does that really accomplish? The purpose of legal liability is to compensate an injured party for harm he has suffered. But it also serves to deter undesirable behavior and, in some cases, punish the wrongdoer. However when a government agency makes such an egregious mistake, it’s the taxpayer who ultimately foots the bill. In many cases there is no liability at all, as government agencies and their employees frequently enjoy immunity – meaning they cannot be sued.

It’s been over a year since Mr. Chong was left to rot in that 10 by 5 foot, windowless room. And yet, no one can an answer  how such a travesty occurred. There has been no word from the DEA or the Department of Justice as to whether any employees have even been disciplined. While the law suit has brought about some policy changes at DEA detention facilities, the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General is still “investigating the incident.”


Source: “Student locked in a room at DEA facilities for 5 days to get $4.1 million” by Tony Perry L.A. Times, July 30, 2013.

Cleveland Police settle lawsuit for $600,000

The Cleveland Police Department has agreed to a $600,000 settlement in civil lawsuit brought by a Cleveland Heights man who claimed he was attacked by officers after a traffic incident. In 2011, plaintiff Edward Henderson crashed his van near downtown on New Year’s Day after a police chase. According to the complaint, after he had been handcuffed, Henderson was held down by police while they kicked and kneed him in the head. He suffered a detached retina and broken eye socket.

As part of the settlement, Henderson’s attorney will provide model policies to the city on the use of excessive force. “I’m hoping this is another step towards reform and I’m hoping that we can work with the police department, and the police union, in a collaborative effort to continue to reform the police department for the better,” said lawyer David Malik.

The Plain Dealer reports that the officers involved in the altercation were initially charged with felonious assault and obstruction of official business, but that Former Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason later elected to dismiss all charges. A spokeswoman for the city confirmed the settlement, but she said it doesn’t include admission of wrongdoing by officers.

Henderson is currently serving a 3-year prison sentence for assaulting an officer as a result of the chase. In March, the U.S. Department of Justice said it was opening a wide-ranging civil rights investigation into the use of force by Cleveland police. The DOJ is analyzing several years of excessive force claims and police policies, training and procedures including last year’s shocking shootout which involved five dozen cruisers and 137 rounds of ammunition fired by 13 officers which resulted in the death of 2 unarmed people.


Source:Cleveland Heights man who said he was beat by Cleveland cops awarded $600,000 in settlement” by Stan Donaldson, The Plain Dealer, July 11, 2013.

BP Fighting Payments to Spill Victims

In what appears to be an effort to intimidate oil-spill victims, BP is sending out hundreds of letters, warning settlement recipients they may have to return part of the money. BP is currently appealing the settlement process, alleging administration errors that resulted in overpayments and “fictitious awards.”

According the Houston Chronicle, “One of the letters says if the appeals court reverses a claimant’s award, BP reserves its right to recover money the client received as well as the cut that went to the claimant’s lawyers.” A hearing for the case is scheduled for July 8 in the Fifth Circuit court of appeals in New Orleans.

The oil company agreed to a settlement last year for its part in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon catastrophe that killed 11 people and released 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over 87 days. Recipients include local businesses and individuals that sustained economic losses, ranging from property damage to medical bills.

The letters are just part of the BP’s full-out media blitz. The London-based company also took out full page ads in main U.S. newspapers, including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal accusing “trial lawyers and some politicians” of encouraging businesses to submit thousands of claims for inflated or non-existent losses. Lawyers for the plaintiffs contend that “it’s “BP’s problem” if the corporation underestimated the total amount of the settlement. Payments were clearly spelled out in the agreement and that BP “shouldn’t be allowed to push the rewind button now.”

Stand up to bullies

It is important to know that businesses will use every measure available to them in order to protect their bottom line. BP’s carefully worded letter announces that it “reserves any rights it may have to recover funds…”  However, it does not say that BP actually has any rights to recover settlements it already paid.

Intimidation tactics are just one of the ways a corporation may try to discourage injured parties from pursuing legal action. If you have been injured and a corporation or insurance company is denying your claims, call 800-ELK-OHIO or contact us online for a free consultation.


Source: “BP warns some oil spill claimants” By Harry R. Weber, Houston Chronicle, June 27, 2013.