Settlement Reached for Actos Bladder Cancer Victims

Takeda, the manufacturer of Actos, has agreed to pay $nearly $2.4 billion to settle bladder cancer claims brought by users: 

  1. who  took Actos at some time prior to December 1, 2011,
  2. who were diagnosed with bladder cancer on or before April 28, 2015, and
  3. who retained counsel before May 1, 2015. Under the terms of the settlement, approximately $2.4 billion will be distributed to approximately 10,600 Actos qualifying users, for average award of $225,000. 

The exact amount of any individual settlement award will be determined through an agreed-upon points matrix by which a number of points will be assigned to each individual claimant based on the level of injury.  The point total will then be adjusted up or down based on various factors, such as length of Actos use, smoking history, and prior history of bladder cancer. 

The five levels of injury include 1) a single occurrence of low grade bladder cancer; 2) recurrence of bladder cancer or occurrence of high grade or T1 bladder cancer; 3) occurrence of T2 bladder cancer or treatment for any bladder cancer by radiation or oral or intravenous chemotherapy; 4) occurrence of T3 bladder cancer or partial or radical cystectomy or nephrectomy to treat bladder cancer; and 5) occurrence of T4 bladder cancer or death from bladder cancer. 

If you meet the criteria above, you should be receiving more information from your attorney.  Please note that Individuals who wish to participate in the settlement must opt-in to the resolution program by July 13, 2015, and then submit a claim package (by a date to be determined) including documentation substantiating the injury and factors accounted for in the points matrix.  A Claims Administrator will then determine points each participant, and calculate the dollar value of each point to determine individual settlement awards. 

Skin, Yes. Skim, No. Club Cannot Take Exotic Dancer's Tips

Recently a California jury awarded 249 exotic dancers $6.5 million for unpaid wages.  The jury found that their employer, Paradise Showgirls, violated the Labor Code that prohibits a Club from taking a portion of the dancers' tips or requiring a divestment of payments for services. The exotic dancers are employees, not independent contractors, and thus need not contribute any portion of what they earn to defray the Club's overhead. 

Deal or No Deal? Takeda offers $2.2 billion

 Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. the manufacture of Actos diabetes medicine has offered to pay more than $2.2 billion to resolve patients’ claims that the drug caused their cancer, according to Bloomberg News. More than 8,000 patients fighting bladder cancer have filed lawsuits in state and federal court. The settlement offer would pay each patient or his heirs approximately $275,000.  

Many people doubt that the $2.2 billion is sufficient to compensate all of the patients. It is speculated that Takeda may choose to settle cases with some lawyers and continue negotiations with others. Plaintiff lawyers who oversee the litigation in federal court for plaintiffs have stated that at this time, “There is no deal.”

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What are the risks of taking Propecia?

The risks of Propecia are still unfolding.  For several years, men have been taking Propecia for hair loss. Merck the manufacturer of Propecia represented that a limited number of users may experience side effects including sexual dysfunction such as decreased libido, erectile dysfunction and ejaculation disorder as well as potential depression. The actual rate of sexual function may be as high as 39%. Studies in Sweden indicate that the adverse side effects often continue after discontinuation of Propecia.  This persistence and/or permanence of the sexual dysfunction, depression and cognitive impairment remained undisclosed to U.S. consumers.  Merck failed to include it on its label. 

Men who used Propecia are claiming that Merck failed to adequately warn them about its risks. Most of these cases are being litigated in New York. Recently the wife and children of a man who took Propecia filed a claim against Merck alleging that in addition to depression, Propecia caused their father and husband to have thoughts of suicide and it led to his eventual suicide.

New Plan for Handling Remaining Yaz Claims

Nearly 20,000 women have brought claims against Bayer for its failure to warn about Yaz’s association with increased risk of clotting.  Women suffered deep vein thromboses, pulmonary embolis and death.  Although Bayer has paid out approximately $1.7 billion in settlements to Yaz claimants approximately 3400 claims remain.

U.S. District Judge David Herndon expressed disappointment that Bayer has been unwilling or unable to settle out of court.  Most of the remaining cases involve catastrophic injuries to women with patent foramen ovale and/or arterial clotting.

On February 13, 2015, Judge Herndon issued a case management order that provides for all Yaz actions that were initially transferred from outside of Southern Illinois to return to their home courts. And the trials originally scheduled for May 4, 2015 have been cancelled or continued.  The Judge has scheduled a Yaz trial to begin in his courtroom on June 15, 2015.  

Risperdal Found to Cause 'Man Boobs'

  On February 23, 2015 a Pennsylvania jury found Risperdal drug maker Janssen Pharmaceuticals failed to properly warn of the potential for Risperdal to cause gynecomastia, a condition in which males grow enlarged breasts.  As a boy, Austin

 Pledger, took Risperdal to assist with behavioral symptoms related to autism and later developed size 46DD breasts from taking the drug. The condition was irreversible.  The jury awarded Pledger $2.5 million.

 

 

Are You an Employee or an Independent Contractor?

It depends. Does your employer retain the right to control the how you perform your work? If yes, then you are an employee. If no, than you are an independent contractor. If maybe, then the Court will consider these additional questions:

  • Are you engaged in a distinct business?
  • Is your job usually done with or without supervision?
  • What skills does your job require?
  • Do you supply the tools, instruments and the place of work?
  • How long do you work?
  • How are you paid? By time or by the job?
  • Is the work part of the regular business of the company?
  • Did you or the company believe you were creating an employer-employee relationship?

These questions usually raise complicated and detailed answers. A judge or jury will weigh the answers to these questions to determine whether a person is an employee or independent contractor.  As discussed here, the answer makes a difference as to how employment laws may be enforced.

Does it Make a Difference if You are Called an "Employee" or an "Independent Contractor"?

 Yes! The law provides greater protection for an employee than an independent contractor. Anti-discrimination, anti-retaliation and rest break laws protect employees not independent contractors. State agencies such as the Division of Labor may enforce the laws for employees; but independent contractors must seek remedies from the Court under contract law.

"Low T" Drugs Lead to Heart Attacks and Strokes

More than 5 million testosterone-based prescriptions are written each year for “Low T,” or low testosterone. Prescriptions have tripled since 2001.  

But It’s now coming to light that these drugs lead to heart attacks, strokes, and death. As a result of studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the New England Journal of Medicine, the Food and Drug Administration has announced it is launching an investigation

The drugs at issue include:

  • Axiron
  • Androderm
  • Bio-T-Gel
  • Delatestryl
  • Depo-Testosterone
  • Forestra
  • Striant
  • Testim
  • Testopel

The testosterone supplements can come in the form of gels, creams, pills and injections. The symptoms that the drugs have been prescribed for include depression, hair loss, decreased strength, fatigue, decreased bone density, and the decreased sex drive that often accompanies growing older. Many men have been prescribed testosterone therapy drugs without actually having their testosterone levels checked. 

One study found that some men who use testosterone drugs are at three times the risk of heart attack. The drug labels, however, don’t mention the risk at all.

Lawyers at Girard Gibbs in San Francisco are representing some of those injured by the testosterone drugs. and are leading an investigation into the link between testosterone and treatment and heart attacks and strokes.

 

Law Now Requires Motorists to Give Bicyclists 3 Foot Buffer

Last month Governor Brown signed into law Assembly Bill No. 1371. The new law requires motorists to leave a three foot buffer when passing a cyclist traveling in the same direction. The motorist may not cross a double yellow line; if there isn't enough room, the motorist cannot pass. Brown had vetoed previous versions of the bill.  

A driver of a motor vehicle shall not overtake or pass a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a highway at a distance of less than three feet between any part of the motor vehicle and any part of the bicycle or its operator.  

The fine for violation of the law is a measly $35. If a collision results, the fine goes up, but only to $220.  Other states have similar laws. The trouble is that they are seldom enforced, unless a cyclist presses the issue.