Update on Transvaginal Mesh Litigation

A Delaware Jury awarded Plaintiff Deborah Barba $100 million following a trial against transvaginal mesh manufacturer Boston Scientific on May 28, 2015. Barba was awarded $75 million in punitive damages and $25 million in compensatory damages for physical injuries sustained from a complications caused by the company’s defective mesh implants.

Ms. Barba continues to experience gynecological symptoms including severe pelvic pain, despite undergoing two pelvic surgeries. Barba’s verdict is now the sixth Plaintiff’s victory against Boston Scientific.

The largest defendant-manufacturer involved in the transvaginal mesh litigation is Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon division, which is currently facing approximately 30,000 mesh claims.

If you are the victim of defective vaginal mesh implants and are experiencing pain and suffering from the implantation of these devices, contact Caputo and Mariotti today to find out more information.

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Increase in 18-Wheeler Accidents

With approximately more than 2 million 18-wheelers driving along U.S. highways, the number of crashes involving large trucks are on the rise. These “accidents” are usually found to be more than just accidents, usually with one party at fault due to a number of factors including fatigue, distraction, and prescription drug use.

18-wheelers have accounted for nearly 4,000 fatalities in 2013, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is the fourth year in a row that large truck fatalities were on the rise.

The top ten most common factors causing these accidents, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) include:

  • fatigue

  • brake problems

  • distractions

  • traffic flow interruptions

  • prescription drug use

  • drunk driving

  • traveling too fast for conditions

  • unfamiliarity with the road

  • over-the-counter drug use

  • inadequate surveillance

Although the driver can be the cause of accidents involving the above factors, he or she is often not the only party at fault. It is important to consider the involvement of the trucking company, the parts manufacturer, the truck manufacturer, the parts supplier, or any third party who may also be at fault.

One of the most important parts in handling any accident involving a large truck is completing a thorough investigation of the accident. Never rely on the findings of the trucking company’s investigation or their insurance company. It is critical that we arrive at the scene as soon as possible to survey the area, locate witnesses, and initiate the research of records.

If you’ve been in an accident involving an 18-wheeler truck, contact Caputo and Mariotti immediately to ensure you’re rights are being protected.

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More Takata Airbag Recalls

Recent statistics indicate that approximately 34 million cars and trucks have been recalled due to Takata’s faulty air bags, which can reportedly blast shrapnel when deployed. Numbers show that nearly one in every seven vehicles on U.S. highways have been affected by this recall involving the faulty airbags that have led eight known deaths and more than 100 injuries.

An additional 1.37 million vehicles in the U.S. that contain Takata-made front passenger air bag inflators are scheduled for recall by the Toyota corporation, and Honda has also recently stated they plan to recall an additional 1 million Accords and Civics with Takata air bags. These recalls, in conjunction with numerous others made by Mazda North America Operations, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., and global recalls being made by Toyota make this the larges recall of its kind in history, which the total number of vehicles continuously on the rise.

According to Takata representatives, the company is still unclear about the cause of the of the air bag defect, although multiple Takata engineers have admitted that the use of a cheap propellant is definitely part of the problem. This cheap propellant, Ammonium nitrate, is susceptible to becoming unstable when exposed to humidity and heat, and was still being used even in replacement airbags. According to engineers, the propellant’s weakness should have prevented Takata from ever using it in cars.

Takata has finally agreed to transition from the dangerous propellant to one that is less susceptible to environmental factors. However, this does not excuse the negligent acts committed by Takata which have claimed the lives of several individuals and injured many others.

If you have been in an accident involving a defective air bag, contact Caputo and Mariotti today for more information on the Takata recall.

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Trinity Industries’ Guardrail Failure

On June 9, 2015, Trinity Industries was assessed more than $138 million in penalties and a Texas federal judge trippled a $175 million False Claims Act verdict against the company. Trinity Industries had previously been found guilty of knowingly selling defective guardrails to the U.S. government back in October of 2014.

This recent final judgment was delivered by U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap, which also included a $199 million awarded to whistleblower, Joshua Harman, in conjunction with the $663.4 million. Harman was awarded $218 million, which included 30 percent commission along with more than $2.3 million in expenses, $15 million in attorneys’ fees, and $177,830 in taxable costs. The amount awarded was based on the fact that the U.S. did not participate in the trial and left the defense solely to the whistleblower.

According to Harman, the guardrail device’s original design, which had previously been approved by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in 2000, was changed sometime between 2002 and 2005, unbeknownst FHWA.

Harman has stated that the new changes that caused the device to fold over into crashing vehicles were deliberately hidden from the FHWA. In 2005, the FHWA partially approved the device, however, it is unclear whether the current version or the originally approved version was used for testing.

If you have recently been involved in an accident involving faulty guardrails, or have any information regarding Trinity Industries’s case, please contact Caputo and Mariotti today.

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Nursing Home Injury Risk

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recently found that 79 percent more nursing home patients have longer stays or require transfers to more acute facilities due to adverse events. The 2014 report, “Adverse Events in Skilled Nursing Facilities: National Incidence Among Medicare Beneficiaries” uncovers that the Medicare expenditures for skilled nursing facilities is the program’s second highest cost, with the highest expenditure being hospital inpatient costs.

According to the DHHS report, nursing home patients have longer stays in health care facilities due to injuries sustained, stating:

An estimated 22 percent of Medicare beneficiaries experienced adverse events during the [skilled nursing facility] stays. An additional 11 percent of Medicare beneficiaries experienced temporary harm events during their [skilled nursing facility] stays. Physician reviewers determined that 59 percent of these adverse events and temporary harm events were clearly or likely preventable. They attributed much of the preventable harm to substandard treatment, inadequate resident monitoring, and failure or delay of necessary care …”

The DHH lists medication errors, falls, injuries during transfers from the hospitals to the skilled nursing facilities, and bedsores as some of the most commonly occurring adverse events. In order to better deal and understand these issues, they have recommended investigating the self reporting process and requirements for nursing homes, and potentially instituting punishments similar to those currently instated for over-medicating.

If you or someone you know has incurred injury due to an adverse event experienced during a stay in a skilled nursing home, contact Caputo & Mariotti today for information on what you can do to protect your rights.

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First Wright Hip Implant Trial Awards $4.5 Million

Metal hip implant patient, Alan Warner, has been awarded $4.5 million in the first Wright hip implant trial. The California jury made this decision in favor of Warner and his wife after finding that he was caused pain and suffering due to Wright’s defective implant.

The defect found in the implant caused a failure that injured both Warner and his wife. However Wright was not found negligent in designing the Profemur R implant by the jurors hearing the case. Although Warner received $4 million for both past and future suffering, including mental anguish, he was not awarded any damages to cover his medical expenses. For the injuries received due to the hip plant failure, Warner’s wife received $500,000.

According to the victim’s testimony, his injury occurred as he went to get a new cup of coffee from his kitchen and the implant failed, leaving him in excruciating pain. Warner then had to undergo extensive surgery to repair the damage caused by the defective implant, which reportedly broke at the stem of the implant. The Wright implant has typically experienced breaks in other parts of the unit, such as the neck, or has infected the bloodstreams and contaminated the hip capsules of other patients with cobalt and chromium due to other defective issues.

Warner’s trial is the first of over 600 pending cases which all involve the failure of Wright’s metal on metal hip implant, which has repeatedly failed causing significant harm to hundreds of individuals.

If you have recently received a Wright hip implant or have had a Wright hip implant for several years and are experiencing pain or suffering from complications, it is important that you have a complete understanding of your options. Contact Caputo and Mariotti today to find out everything you need to know about pursuing rightful compensation.

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Accidents Involving Traumatic Brain Injuries

Not all injuries are easily seen.

A traumatic brain injury, is one of the most serious internal injuries than an individual can incur. Of the multitude of individuals who suffer a Traumatic Brain Injury each year, approximately 75% complete a path of recovery that allows them to return to their chosen career or level of schooling. Sad to say, the remaining 25% of individuals never reach that point of recovery, and are permanently affected.

If the loss of consciousness and confusion or disorientation is shorter than thirty minutes, a brain injury can be classified as mild. A victim can have cognitive problems such as difficulty thinking, headache, memory problems, attention deficits, frustration and mood swings even when an MRI or CAT scan looks normal. Because of this, these types of injuries are overlooked often. Other common symptoms include:

  • loss of smell

  • nausea

  • mood changes

  • sensitivity to light and sound

  • slowness of thinking

  • getting lost

Some of the highest causes of brain injuries involve open head injuries, closed head injuries, deceleration injuries, chemical toxic, hypoxia, tumors, infections and strokes.

If you’re the victim of an accident at work or on the road and believe that you have incurred any form of Traumatic Brain Injury as a result, contact the offices of Caputo and Mariotti today to set up your free consultation.

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Product Liability On-the-Job

It’s your right to be employed and work in a safe environment, and unfortunately, for many individuals, their working environments just aren’t as safe as they should be.

Avoiding accidents at all costs should be the primary goal of any business, no matter what the industry is. Creating a safe working environment is essential for a number of reasons, but most importantly the well being of employees should always come before anything else.

Even when employers do everything they can to prevent accidents, some accidents still occur. This is often in part due to something that may be completely out of their control, such as faulty machinery. An employee who is unknowingly using a defective machine can easily become hurt on the job, even though all of the necessary precautions have been taken.

A defective piece of machinery can appear fully operational, and only when it does finally break down or cause an injury does the default become apparent. However, it is important to remember that not all defects easily recognizable, which is why company representatives will perform investigations into the cause of certain injuries. After the investigation is completed, it is very common that the findings will reveal the cause of injuries sustained is, in fact, defective machine.

With on-the-job injuries involving workers compensation claims, many times product claims are the result. Typically, the situation involving the injury is investigated to determine the cause and whether or not there was any type of faulty machinery involved.

If you’ve been hurt at work and believe that you may have sustained an injury caused by defective machinery in your workplace, contact Caputo and Mariotti today to find out more information.

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First Risperdal Philadelphia Trial Verdict of $2.5 Million

The verdict over the antipsychotic drug Risperdal’s connection to abnormal breast tissue growth in males has returned $2.5 million in damages against a Johnson & Johnson unit, Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc.

This verdict came after a lengthy trial in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas when the jury found that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn the parents and physicians of an autistic boy about the risks associated with the drug.

According to the evidence presented, Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. concealed facts that the drug was linked to a condition known as gynecomastia, which causes adolescent boys to grow female breast tissue.

This is the first Philadelphia verdict to come of the thousands of product liability lawsuits over Risperdal’s links to gynecomastia that are pending throughout the nation. As part of a mass tort docket in Philadelphia, over 1,250 cases are currently lined up involving the drug Risperdal.

In this particular case, Janssen has been accused of manipulating scientific data to represent that Risperdal has had less of a negative effect on adolescent children using the drug for treatment. The company has previously admitted to criminal misconduct, paying $2.2 billion to resolve federal False Claims Act allegations back in 2013 for illegally promoting three of its drugs for off label use, including Risperdal.

If you or your child has been prescribed Risperdal and has suffered medical complications, contact Caputo and Mariotti today to find out what you can do to protect your rights.

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The Risks of Antidepressants

There are many types of antidepressants to help treat depression. Some of the more popular SSRI-antidepressants include brands such as Paxil, Prozac, Luvox, Celexa, and Lexapro.

Many individuals who suffer from depression use these SSRI’s to successfully treat their symptoms so that they can continue to enjoy normal lives. As many patients experience different levels of severity when it comes to depression, doctors typically diagnose and prescribe antidepressants accordingly.

Unfortunately, there are several risks associated with antidepressants, even when used as directed. Over the last several years, many studies of shown that mothers who took SSRI-antidepressants such as Celexa, Prozac, and others during the first trimester had an increased risk of delivering a baby that has heart birth defects.

Heart birth defects can also occur naturally, but the risk for children born with heart defects becomes significantly greater when the mother has used antidepressants during her first trimester. According to most of the studies done by researchers, these cardiac defects are commonly ventricular or atrial septal defects. These particular defects involve a lack of full development in the wall that is located between the infant’s left and right sides of the heart.

If you’ve been prescribed and taken any kind of antidepressants during the first trimester including SSRI’s and your child has suffered a birth defect, contact Caputo and Mariotti today to find out more about your options.

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