GREGORY M. FRIEDLANDER & ASSOCIATES, P.C.
Gregory Friedlander & Associates, P.C.
11 S. Florida St.
Mobile, Ala. 36606-1934
fax: 888.441.2123 www.gmfpc.com
alternate e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
A SAMPLE LIST OF CASES FOLLOWS
The world of mass lawsuits can seem confusing and for many who have been affected, the remedies have been sporadic. I personally was visited by three major mass torts over the last 10 years. The first was Katrina and the wind vs flood cases. The second was the Chinese drywall litigation. The third was the bp oil spill which was really a result of the combined fault of several entities.
For all of these cases it was important to do several things. Among those: 1) get in the case early; 2) keep up with the case and stay involved in the prosecution of the case as much as possible and 3) be patient, but stay informed. THERE ARE TIME LIMITATIONS FOR FILING CLAIMS SO ACTING QUICKLY IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL.
Most of the case work I handled in the cdw case I handled myself. In the bp cases I referred much of the work out because the settlement changed so dramatically and continues to evolve. In addition to referral, for larger cases which had questionable liability under the settlement I was involved in several individual lawsuits. This is worth a few words. In these settlements, there is a balancing act. The “certainty” of the settlement vs the uncertainty associated with pursuing the case independently. You have to have a large claim to pursue the independent route; but we did that for several plaintiffs and I did it for my personal cases in the cdw and the bp case.
By the end of 2011 my practice had transformed from a quiet patent practice to a practice focused on Mass Torts and primarily, though not exclusively, making sure that people with mass tort claims made it to the right attorney. Something that is not always clear. For example in the bp case the “right” attorneys for medical claims turned out to be different from the “right” attorneys for BEL (business economic loss) claims. In some cases, clients would start with one attorney only to have to be shifted to other counsel. Most importantly, that settlement has shifted so much and continues to shift so much that the original settlement is no longer the same as the settlement being evaluated and many of the issues which changed it are still on appeal years after the original settlement was put in place
While many mass tort claims are so small as to seem not worth pursuing, it is never a bad idea if you get a notice or feel like you have questions relative to a mass tort issue to discuss it with counsel and always a good idea if you have the large type of injury (death or long term illness) associated with a mass tort issue.
NON-CLASS ACTION CASES
18-wheeler Accidents – Representing the car driver: While technically not a mass tort case, these are fairly specialized accidents and there is a lot of advertising surrounding them which can be confusing. The key is to make sure that counsel is aware of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, technology, business practices, insurance coverages, and to have the ability to discover written and electronic records and have the resourced to obtain expert testimony and to litigate until the case is tried or settled. It isn’t just the non-trucking public that is affected. Truck drivers are engaged in hazardous work and when their equipment is not properly maintained, they can be the victims too.
Heavy Truck Product Liability Claims – Representing the Trucker: Tractor trailer and other heavy trucks are not required to contain many of the same protections for occupants as smaller passenger cars. They can contain dangerous defects putting the truck driver or passengers at risk of serious injury or death. These trucks many times have particularly weak roofs that crush in rollovers. The passenger compartments are often not protected by effective cab guards, and this allows loads to shift into the truck cab. We would like to review any case involving catastrophic injury or death
False Claims Act / Whistleblower- These are claims of fraud against the government ranging from Medicare/Medicaid to military contracts, and any other type of fraud involving a government contract. Under the False Claims Act (FCA) the whistleblower is entitled to a percentage of the recovery. Common schemes involve double-billing for the same service, inaccurately coding services, and billing for services not performed. Closely related are claims of Health Care Fraud which can overlap.
Antitrust – We can help with claims related to the violation of federal and state antitrust laws which can arise from a wide array of anticompetitive conduct, including illegal tying of products and services, exclusive dealing, monopolization, and price fixing.
Other Non-mass tort cases:
I have mixed feelings about the amount of attorney advertising that I see. There are good and bad attorneys who do advertising, but in the end it is just advertising. I’d be glad to share my thoughts on any attorney to the extent I have one and if you’re looking for an attorney, I’d be glad to give the benefit of my experience.
Product Liability-example Defective Tires – If someone is hurt by equipment failing, it is not always obvious, but several firms specialize in the investigation of these types of failures and have extensive engineering expertise on retainer in order to investigate them. One good example is Tire Failure. Tire failure is one of the great hidden causation issues. Tire failure can come from old tires that are sold as new. The one big issue if you want to avoid this is to make sure you have newer tires on your vehicles which means finding the manufacturing date on the tires you put on your car. If you think an accident involved defective tires or tires that failed for unknown reasons, then this is an area worth investigating. Once the defective product makes it into a class, it becomes critical to file or you might end up in the situation of gm plaintiffs who ended up cut out of the settlement because of a bankruptcy or a class action deadline.
On-the-job Product Liability - Many times product claims arise from workers compensation claims. After we investigate the circumstances that caused the injuries, many times we discover a defective machine may be the cause of the injuries.
CLASS ACTION CASES
GM Defective Ignition Switch – General Motors defective switches are alleged to leave a vehicle without power and the driver unable to control the vehicle in sudden and dangerous situations. Court documents and other evidence reveal that GM knew about the ignition switch problem as early as 2001. GM has established a Victims Compensation Fund to address serious injuries and deaths resulting from the ignition switch defect. To date, GM has acknowledged 192 death claims eligible for compensation since the fund began accepting claims on Aug. 1. The deadline to file a claim within the fund was Jan. 31, 2015, but claims outside the fund “may be possible” given the bankruptcy filed by GM.
MEDICAL MASS TORTS
Medical torts are confusing. It sometimes seems like the only way to determine whether you have a mass tort medical claim is to go to an attorney every time you have an illness and look to see if there is something you’ve used or been exposed to in the past is making you sick. This has a lot to do with bp claims, particularly those in “zone a” or “clean up workers”. With that in mind, let me list some of the mass tort medical claims.
Byetta, Januvia, Janumet and Victoza are drugs from a class known as incretin mimetics that are used to treat Type 2 diabetes. The complications are potential acute pancreatitis and increased risk of pancreatic cancer. We are currently investigating claims of thyroid cancer and pancreatic cancer
GranuFlo – GranuFlo® and NaturaLyte® are products used in the dialysis process. Use of these dialysis products has been linked to an increased risk of cardiopulmonary arrest and sudden cardiac death.
Lipitor – is possibly linked to developing Type 2 diabetes.
Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacement parts –. Problems with the metal-on-metal devices include loosening, fracturing and dislocating of the device caused by inflammation in the joint space
Mirena – Mirena® is an IUD. Serious adverse side effects and potentially life-threatening complications have been reported following the implantation of the device. These complications include organ perforation, migration of the IUD to outside the uterus, expulsion of the IUD, and embedment in the uterus, among others.
Power morcellator - In April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urged doctors to stop using a medical device called a power morcellator, because studies showed the device may spread cancer. An estimated 1 in 350 women develops uterine sarcoma – a type of uterine cancer – after undergoing a morcellator procedure. Morcellators are typically used to grind away uterine growths such as fibroid tumors, and in hysterectomies. They became popular as a less invasive surgical alternative. The FDA conducted a formal review of the devices in July and announced that its concerns with the morcellator were confirmed. During this time, Johnson & Johnson announced it would stop selling the surgical tools.
Risperdal, , has been linked to the development of gynecomastia in boys and young men. Gynecomastia is a condition that causes boys to grow breasts.
Talcum powder and ovarian cancer - As many as 2,200 cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed each year may have been caused by regular use of talcum powder. If you have ovarian cancer you should consider getting advice relative to this.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy Several of these products have been linked to an increased risk of death, heart attack and stroke. Hence, the potential plaintiffs in these cases are often the surviving family members.
Transvaginal mesh – There is extensive litigation associated with the use of mesh product. In fact, it is only the most visible medical treatment technique that has resulted in litigation. If you feel some specific treatment has worsened a medical condition, you can explore whether the treatment has been determined to be hazardous since there are many such cases pending.
Viagra –Viagra (sildenafil) may increase the risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Xarelto - A the blood thinner case consolidated in Louisiana federal court (internal bleeding, gastrointestinal bleeding, brain bleed and death).
The mass torts of Fraud
We’re all familiar with fraud. Fraud cases are tough, but often have liquid defendants in the financial arena.
While many of these cases do not have remedy, my involvement in the mass tort arena has given me some insight into who is handling these cases, who has the resources and knowledge to bring a case to a conclusion and what you need to do to protect your claims. If I can help to point you in the right direction, please feel free to contact me.