A weekly update on interesting numbers in product liability, class action and mass tort news from July 14–July 20. Published Fridays.
The percent of increased risk for ovarian cancer claimed in a class action suit against Johnson & Johnson’s talc products, dismissed Monday. Johnson & Johnson and their talc supplier Imerys had been criticized for not disclosing the risk of ovarian cancer associated with their talc products, including Baby Powder and Shower to Shower. A judge told Mona Estrada, the plaintiff leading the class action who had not been harmed by the products herself, that she had failed to show that Johnson & Johnson was legally obligated to disclose the risk associated with the products, and so the suit was dismissed. Litigation against Johnson & Johnson and Imerys continues in other jurisdictions.
500 times more dangerous
How the updated health goal for GenX reflects officials’ thinking about the chemical, according to Port City Daily. GenX is a compound that replaced Dupont’s C8 in production of teflon, and like C8, could be the subject of litigation. Last Friday, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) released an update about GenX, saying that they were lowering the acceptable levels of GenX for the most vulnerable populations from 71,000 parts per trillion to 140 parts per trillion. Based on consultations with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and new beliefs that exposure to GenX could come from sources other than drinking water, the NC DHHS now says that GenX could produce adverse health effects at levels above 140 parts per trillion. In 2013, average levels of GenX in the Cape Fear watershed were 631 parts per trillion.
The number of women included in a Victoria’s Health Issues Centre survey over their experience with pelvic mesh products. The chief executive of the centre, Danny Vadasz, submitted a document to an Australian Senate inquiry over the mesh products that criticized the Australian health regulatory system for “being asleep at the wheel” and said mesh injuries were “dramatically under-reported” due to surgeons’ unwillingness to validate the injuries. Vadasz compared the patterns of blaming the victim and abuse of power in the mesh cases to the treatment of sexual abuse victims. The lawsuits in Australia mirror the suits in the U.S., which have many women suing medical device companies after suffering serious, permanent injuries following mesh surgeries.
The amount of damage alleged to have been caused by a fire said to have been started by a Samsung Galaxy S3 in a class action Samsung urged a judge to toss Tuesday. Samsung called the case “bare-bones pleading” and said that the case did not meet the standards for a class action case. Brittany Jones claims that she was charging the S3 in a bedroom at her mother’s house when the phone overheated and caused the bed to catch fire. You may remember the problems Samsung had with the Galaxy Note 7, a device that was banned from flights due to its propensity to catch fire and explode. Samsung stopped selling that device, but complaints of overheating and fires continue to plague the tech giant.
The number of former NFL players estimated to be eligible for a concussion settlement. The judge overseeing the settlement issued an order Wednesday accusing some law firms of using “deceptive practices” to target former players. As we have noted in our page on the settlement, players don’t need legal representation to get their benefits and court-appointed advisers are available for free, but having a lawyer to represent your interests may be of value in some cases. The NFL reached a settlement with a class of retired football players earlier this year agreeing to pay up to $5 million to players who suffered from neurodegenerative disorders after playing the game. The NFL also agreed to pay for safety education and screening programs as a part of the settlement.
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