The Justice Department and the SEC are investigating Johnson & Johnson over concerns the company’s baby powder may have contained asbestos in addition to talc. J&J was subpoenaed in the wake of several jury trials that awarded millions in damages to plaintiffs who claimed the J&J’s talc products including Shower to Shower and Johnson’s Baby Powder were tainted with asbestos and caused their cancers. The agencies seek documents that may shed more light on those matters and other suits Johnson & Johnson faces filed by shareholders and pension holders over the situation.
About 13,000 plaintiffs have filed claims in pending lawsuits involving talc-based body powders. “The Company is cooperating with these government inquiries and will be producing documents in response,” Johnson & Johnson said in an SEC filing Wednesday.
In some of the earliest trials that usually set a barometer for future settlement negotiations, state courts in New Jersey and California awarded damages to plaintiffs who claimed Johnson & Johnson talc products contained asbestos and caused their mesothelioma. In July, a St. Louis jury awarded $4.7 billion to 22 women who said asbestos in the company’s talc powder contributed to their ovarian cancer. In the SEC filing, Johnson & Johnson said, “The Company believes that it has strong grounds on appeal to overturn these verdicts.” According to J&J, “Decades of independent tests by regulators and the world’s leading labs prove Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder is safe and asbestos-free, and does not cause cancer. We intend to cooperate fully with these inquiries and will continue to defend the Company in the talc-related litigation.” This comes on the heels of reports in The New York Times and the Reuters business journal which revealed documents suggesting the company knew about the risk of asbestos in its powders for decades and sought to keep the issue quiet. If true, this is indicative or a decades-long effort by Johnson & Johnson to potentially mislead regulators and consumers about the safety its talc products, which may have resulted in long-term harm for men, women and children who used Johnson & Johnson baby powder.
Most times, if a plaintiff has suffered a serious personal injury, there will be a claim for lost wages. As can be expected, defendants may claim that plaintiff is not entitled to lost earnings because of a few reasons, such as:
- Plaintiff was unemployed at time of injury.
- Plaintiff’s can not show amount of earnings that will be lost with certainty.
Many times a doctor expert is deposed but the chance to follow up with documents is not realized because of the lack of a notice to produce being sent with the deposition notice. This notice is also referred to as a Duces Tecum in some jurisdictions. Whatever the nomenclature, the notice requests pertinent documents that allow the opposing lawyer to follow up on questions with the produced documents. It is a very valuable pleading in many civil litigation cases. Below is a sample Notice of Intention to Take Oral Deposition and Duces Tecum.
PLAINTIFF’S NOTICE OF INTENTION TO TAKE ORAL VIDEOTAPED DEPOSITION,
DUCES TECUM, OF DR. ________
Georgia Law now provides that medical testimony may be given in a narrative form that has been signed and dated. It is no longer necessary to disrupt a doctor’s busy schedule to give a deposition. In some cases, it is beneficial to use a medical narrative from a subsequent treating physician in a lawsuit. Narratives are typically used in auto accident lawsuits in Georgia state courts to secure testimony regarding a doctor’s care and treatment of the plaintiff to be used at trial. Of course, the content of the narrative will depend on the facts and circumstances of each case, however there are a few areas that will appear in most narratives. They are:
1. A brief curriculum vitae or resume (usually by attaching the doctor’s CV to the report);
2. How the patient came to see the doctor;
MEDICARE’S STATUTORY RIGHT OF REIMBURSEMENT
The landscape related to Medicare and personal injury settlements has changed. 42 U.S.C. §1395y(b)(2) and § 1862(b)(2)(A) of the Social Security Act, provide that Medicare may not pay for a beneficiary’s medical expenses when payment “has been made or can reasonably be expected to be made under a workers’ compensation plan, an automobile or liability insurance policy or plan (including a self-insured plan), or under no-fault insurance.” If responsibility for the medical expenses incurred is in dispute and other insurance will not pay promptly, the provider, physician, or other supplier may bill Medicare as the primary payer. If the item or service is reimbursable under Medicare rules, Medicare may pay conditionally, subject to later recovery if there is a subsequent settlement, judgment, award, or other payment. In situations such as this, the beneficiary may choose to hire an attorney to help them recover damages. Under 42 U.S.C. §1395y(b)(2(B)(ii) and §1862(b)(2)(B)(ii) of the Act and 42 C.F.R. 411.24(e) & (g), Medicare may recover from a primary plan or any entity, including a beneficiary, provider, supplier, physician, attorney, state agency or private insurer that has received a primary payment.
If you are a personal injury attorney and you represent a medicare beneficiary (or a person who may be eligible for medicare benefits within 30 months of the resolution of your case), one of your first steps in the representation of that client should be to contact Medicare and request a conditional payment letter. Since the lead time in receiving a response from Medicare can be quite long, it is best to initiate the process early in your representation so that getting a Medicare Conditional Payment Letter will not hold up resolution of the case. Notice of representation requires sending a copy of the fully executed retainer agreement to Medicare along with a letter explaining your case and the injuries that your client is complaining of in the lawsuit.
“Closing argument is the time to use the lawyer’s skill as a teacher, purveyor of the truth, and speaker. It is the phase of the case when artistry of the lawyer’s accumulated education, experience, intelligence, and ability can and should exhort the strength of the case or the validity of the defense.”
Generally, the courts give attorneys wide latitude when making closing arguments. However, there are limitations and it is the duty of the advocate to vigorously argue the case within the bounds of the law. Prior to conducting any closing argument, every lawyer should have a good understanding of the process, which arguments are permitted and which arguments are not allowed. Armed with this knowledge, the advocate can zealously argue without worrying about running afoul of the law. This will allow you to clearly present your case to the jury, attack (yes, attack) the other side’s arguments, set the framework for the juror’s deliberations and empower the jury to do the right thing (e.g., find in your favor).
As an Atlanta personal injury lawyer, usually one of the first questions I’m asked by potential clients is how they have to pay my fees. In cases seeking damages for injuries and deaths arising from auto accidents, bicycle accidents, dog bites, slip and fall accidents or other types of cases of personal injuries or wrongful death, damages caused by the negligent actions of others are typically structured in contingent fee agreements.
In contingent fee agreements, clients do not have to pay a fee unless the case is settled for a dollar amount or attached to a money verdict. Ordinarily, the contract specifies that the lawyer will receive 33% or one-third of the gross settlement’s total if the case is settled without needing to file a lawsuit.
Generally, gross settlement means the sum of the settlement amount before legal costs or expenses are subtracted. Deposition fees, expert fees, filing fees, photocopy fees, fees associated with acquiring medical records, and so on typically comprise legal fees. Such expenses are paid out of the client’s share of the settlement’s gross.
Meridia (sibutramine) is a prescribed drug that patients in Atlanta take orally to manage obesity during the losing and maintaining of weight. It is the first orally taken serotonin and noradrenalin reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). It influences the appetite control center in the brain to lessen food consumption by raising satiety Sibutramine that is thought to support weight loss.
Abbot Laboratories, the manufacturer of Meridian, conducted a voluntary recall in October of 2010 after the FDA called for the removal from the market. Meridia, a diet drug, was found to cause serious cardiac side effects and could even cause death. 12 months after the FDA voted that the risks associated with the taking of Meridia outweighed its benefits, the drug was approved nonetheless.
Meridia’s side effects include, anorexia, constipation, dry mouth, headaches, heart disease, insomnia, increased blood pressure, increased heart rates, mental impairment, seizures, strokes, and increased sweating. Meridia is also linked to serious and deadly side effects such as pulmonary hypertension (PPH). Other side effects include heart valve disease or cardiac valve dysfunction.
As a personal injury lawyer in Atlanta and father of two young girls, this kind of news always catches my attention. A lawsuit has been filed against Taco Bell over last year’s salmonella poisoning outbreak that affected 68 people in 10 states. The lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a 22-year-old woman in Oklahoma who claims she was infected with Salmonella poisoning after she ate at Taco Bell. She alleges that she was ill for two weeks and is seeking $75,000.
Taco Bell claims that investigators found that not all who ate at Taco Bell had gotten sick. Therefore, Taco Bell suggests that the problem probably originated with their supplier before being delivered to Taco Bell restaurants. Salmonella illnesses were reported in Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas from October through January of last year.
Taco Bell is no stranger to outbreaks of food borne illness. In 2000, green onions were the cause of a hepatitis outbreak. In 2006, tainted lettuce caused an E. coli outbreak that sickened 71 customers in five states. And in 20010, Taco Bell was linked to another Salmonella outbreak that sickened 155 people.