Ferrer, Poirot & Wansbrough | Injury Law Blog

Ban Forced Arbitration

by John Kirtley, III | April 26th, 2016

Forced arbitration clauses buried in the fine print of financial contracts deny all of us our day in court and deprive us of the right to hold corporations accountable for breaking the law. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 authorizes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to study the use of forced arbitration clauses in consumer financial products or services contracts. It also allows them to ban the practice if it finds it is in the best interest of consumers to do so.

In December 2013, the CFPB released the preliminary results of that study. It found that forced arbitration clauses in consumer financial services contracts are used in many consumer transactions and impact tens of millions of Americans. For example, 99% of payday loan agreements in California and Texas include arbitration clauses in their agreements, and 92% of prepaid card agreements are subject to arbitration clauses.

The study also confirmed that forced arbitration provides relief to almost no consumers harmed by illegal or abusive practices in the financial services industry.

Another study released by the CFPB in March 2015 confirms the negative impact of forced arbitration for consumers while underscoring the benefits of class actions which deliver relief to millions of consumers with small dollar claims.

The CFPB study found:

  • A majority of consumers are unaware of whether their financial contracts include forced arbitration clauses. Fewer than 7% of consumers covered by arbitration clauses realized that the clauses restricted their ability to sue in court.
  • Arbitrators overwhelmingly side with companies rather than consumers in forced arbitration
  • Consumers recovered little, if any, financial relief in forced arbitration
  • Arbitration is rigged against consumers; i.e., the American Arbitration Association (AAA) is the sole arbitrator for 84.5% of forced arbitration-subject mobile wireless subscribers and 100% of arbitration-subject prepaid cards.

So, if you or a loved one showed up to play a softball game, and the other team paid the umpires, do you think you would get a fair game? Obviously not. Arbitration is bad for consumers and should not be forced upon them as the price for doing business with anyone.

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Lexapro Birth Defect Cases in Progress

by Cary Graham | April 26th, 2016

Lexapro is an antidepressant medication prescribed to treat major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and other psychological conditions. It belongs to the serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class of medications designed to block the reabsorption of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain to relieve depressive symptoms in patients.

In recent years, Lexapro has been linked to serious side effects that can endanger lives beyond the patient. In Dec. 2011, the FDA showed a link between Lexapro and birth defects in children. Taking Lexapro during a pregnancy could result in serious birth defects such as:

  • Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension—The circulatory system of the child doesn’t fully develop, resulting in difficulty breathing and poor physical development.
  • Heart Defects—From holes in the upper chambers to gaps between heart ventricles, these heart defects can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome or lead to serious heart conditions later in life.

If your doctor prescribed you Lexapro while you were pregnant and your child suffered birth defects, call our drug injury lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to significant compensation from the manufacturers, but the window for seeking that compensation could be closing. Don’t wait to get the help you need. Call us today.

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Apple vs. U.S. Government

by John Kirtley, III | April 21st, 2016

The fphone-privacyight continues between Apple and the F.B.I. regarding access to an iPhone utilized by one of the shooters in the recent San Bernardino terrorist attack that killed 14 Americans. In typical fashion, media reporting and social network commentary resembles more hysteria than facts. Many people quickly formed opinions based upon ideological or political affiliation, despite the complex issues involved.

Law enforcement desires to, and should, investigate the full breadth of the conspiracy by obtaining information stored on the phone. The suspect’s phone’s password protection settings were that after 10 incorrect log-in attempts, the data and contents of the phone would be automatically erased. Consequently, law enforcement seeks assistance from Apple to turn off the feature in question on this one occasion. Privacy advocates equate this to the creation of permanent backdoor, and overstate the matter, to help garner public support—although, the government’s request can implicate privacy concerns related to the data.

The media fails to mention that the phone in question was a work phone issued to the suspect by San Bernardino County. San Bernardino County has consented to a search of the phone. Apple declined law enforcement’s request to assist. A federal judge has ordered Apple to assist. Yet again, Apple declined to help and is currently refusing to comply with a lawful court order. Apple cites privacy concerns as the reason for failing to cooperate.

Even if one takes the position that someone has privacy rights in their work phone, does that right trump national security interests related to identifying a terrorist sleeper cell within our borders? Apple is in the business of selling its brand, and privacy sells big, particularly in markets like China—as Apple recently admitted.
Ironically, Apple (and its current supporters Google and Facebook) have an insatiable appetite for consumer data that they regularly retrieve through email, messaging, web browsers, search, and mapping apps. This data is their life blood. However, when the government wants data from them they balk.

There’s likely not a “one size fits all” response to situations like this, but starting with complete knowledge of the facts, and the motivations of the interested parties, represents a critical first step. Obviously, technological advances presents us with contemporary complex questions to which no easy answers exist. Government power certainly needs to be checked and monitored. However, large corporations need to be good corporate citizens—not just take positions that add to their bottom line or provide effective marketing material.

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IVC Filters Linked to Fatal Injuries

by Cary Graham | April 19th, 2016

When inferior vena cava (IVC) filters first came on the market, they were considered an important tool in combating serious heart conditions, such as pulmonary embolisms. The device is implanted inside the arteries to catch fragments of blood clots in the legs and pelvis, stopping them before they can reach the heart where clots can do real damage. However promising these devices initially were, they have come under increased scrutiny in recent years due to a risk of fracture or outright failure.

When IVC filters fail, the remains of the device and the materials they filtered can rush to the heart or lungs, causing serious injuries or death. In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned of long-term health complications linked to the prolonged use of IVC filters, including Lower Limb Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)—the collection of blood clots in the legs, causing swelling and severe pain. Due to the severity of these risks, the FDA recommends that doctors consider removing these devices from patients.

If you or someone you love suffered health complications from a IVC filter implant, call our experienced IVC injury lawyers today for a free evaluation of your claim. The manufacturer of these defective medical devices may be liable for your injuries. Call now to learn how your injuries may entitle you to significant compensation.

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U.S. Supreme Court Nomination Process Must Move Forward

by John Kirtley, III | April 14th, 2016

Supreme Court BuildingTo fill the vacancy left by the death of Antonin Scalia, as required by the U.S. Constitution, President Obama has nominated Merrick Garland, a judicial moderate, who currently serves as chief judge of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, to the United States Supreme Court. There is no question he is qualified to serve on the nation’s highest court. However, the Supreme Court’s ideological balance is up for grabs, and Garland’s nomination is the current obstructionist obsession with the Republican-controlled United States Senate.

The Constitution requires the Senate to give the President “advice and consent” (confirmation) for each nominee. The Senate’s role in this process is crucial for restoring a fully-functional Supreme Court. Currently, the Court has eight members which, in the event of a tie vote, would not establish any national precedent in any split decisions. This is only April. The current term of the Court ends June 30. A new term, of the Court, will not begin until Oct. 3, 2016, with many important cases to be decided in each term, through the end of Obama’s administration, which ends Jan. 20, 2017. Nevertheless, Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell has refused to consider the President’s nomination, much less even meet with him – as is Senate tradition.

As former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said, “I probably would’ve handled it differently,” Lott told CNN senior political commentator David Axelrod on “The Axe Files” podcast, produced by CNN and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. “My attitude, particularly on the Supreme Court, was that elections do have consequences, sometimes bad, and I tried to lean towards being supportive of the President’s nominees, Democrat or Republican.”

Elections DO have consequences. The Constitution has no silly “election year exception,” for the Senate to refuse to consider the President’s nomination. The President has done his job. The U.S. Senate must do theirs.

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Onglyza Heart Conditions Lead to Large Settlements

by Cary Graham | April 12th, 2016

Onglyza is a medication prescribed to Type-2 diabetes patients. The particular benefit of Onglyza is that it helps regulate blood sugar levels with no increased risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Such medications are an important component to many diabetes treatment plans, which is why they are prescribed so often. However, recent studies indicate that patients taking Onglyza may have an increased risk of serious health conditions, such as pancreatic cancer, thyroid cancer, and heart failure.

Links to these serious health conditions were discovered as early as 2013 by the New England Journal of Medicine and investigated by the FDA. Given these studies, it would seem reasonable for the manufacturer to pull this potentially harmful medication from pharmacy shelves, but that’s not the case. Since the discovery of these health risks, thousands of patients across the U.S. have taken Onglyza to treat their Type-2 diabetes, putting their lives at risk.

If you or someone you love suffered heart failure or was diagnosed with thyroid or pancreatic cancer after taking Onglyza, call our drug injury lawyers today for a free evaluation of your claim. You may be entitled to significant compensation for your injuries, but your ability to seek damages is limited, so call us today.

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Stop the Bleeding – FDA Approves Praxbind® – Reversal Agent for Pradaxa®

by John Kirtley, III | April 7th, 2016

pradaxa bleeding injuriesPradaxa® is an anticoagulant drug used for the prevention of stroke, blood clots in patients who undergo total hip replacement surgery or total knee replacement surgery, treatment of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolisms, and the prevention of recurrence of such events in adults. Clinical use of Pradaxa equates to over four million patient-years in all licensed indications worldwide. Pradaxa has been on the market for more than 6 years and is approved in over 100 countries.

Lawsuits are mounting concerning the use of Pradaxa. Until recently, if a patient’s blood became too thin while taking Pradaxa, they had a significant risk of bleeding to death because, unlike the older blood thinner Warfarin, nothing could stop the bleeding.

Now, there is some hope for patients taking Pradaxa. The first FDA approval of a specific reversal agent. Praxbind® immediately reverses the anticoagulant action of Pradaxa in situations involving emergency surgery/urgent procedures or in life-threatening or uncontrolled bleeding.

Some studies indicate that the reversal effects of Praxbind were evident immediately, within minutes after administration of 5 grams of Praxbind. Perhaps if Praxbind had existed when Pradaxa was approved by the FDA, many lives could have been saved.

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Our Drug Injury Lawyers Have Recovered Millions

by Cary Graham | April 5th, 2016

At Ferrer, Poirot & Wansbrough, we handle a variety of cases from car accidents to property liability, but the bulk of our clients have been victims of drug injuries. When a pharmaceutical company puts a drug on the market that puts patients at risk, we seek compensation for the victims. For more than 30 years, we’ve helped thousands of drug injury victims nationwide recover millions of dollars.

If you or someone you love suffered health complications after taking any of the following drugs, give us a call immediately for a free evaluation of your claim.

Actos was introduced in the 1990s to help treat Type 2 Diabetes. In recent years, the medication has been linked to serious health conditions, such as bladder cancer and heart failure. In April 2004, key manufacturers of Actos were ordered to pay $9 billion in punitive damages to victims.

Yaz is a birth control medication linked to an increased risk of blood clots, pulmonary embolisms, and strokes. As Yaz has been prescribed to treat a variety of minor conditions, such as headaches and acne, the number of impacted users is immense.

Xarelto is a blood-thinning medication still marketed today despite being known to cause serious bleeding, stroke, and blood clots in certain types of patients.

For a complete list of the drug injuries we are currently handling, visit the drug injury page on our website.

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Unsure About Essure®

by Christina Feller | March 31st, 2016

iStock_000065567545_SmallOn February 29, 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it would require the permanent, implantable contraceptive device Essure® to carry a black box warning regarding some of the serious risks associated with its use. While we appreciate the FDA finally taking action, the product has been on the market since 2002, and thousands of women have reported Essure side effects and life-altering complications since its approval 14 years ago.

The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring drugs and medical devices intended for human use are safe and effective. Many envision FDA doctors in white lab coats testing the safety of drugs and devices before they are approved and put on the market, but that is not how it works. Before a drug or device is approved, the FDA reviews data that drug and medical device companies provide from their own testing. These limited tests are not run by the FDA and as we see in many drug and medical device trials, companies pushing to get their drugs and products onto the market quickly often provide incomplete, inaccurate, or even fraudulent data.

In 2002, when the FDA approved Essure, they were concerned that test subjects had only been monitored a year or two and asked that trial participants be monitored for four more years. Essure side effects reported during this trial and subsequent trials were recurrent pain, perforation of the fallopian tube, migration, painful intercourse and menstrual periods, hysterectomies, and other surgeries to remove misplaced coils.

So how can you help ensure that the FDA will be more sure about product safety before putting products like Essure on the market? You can become more aware about the FDA’s role in approving medical devices by visiting the FDA website on medical devices. You should also report any side effects you experience from a drug or product to MedWatch, the FDA safety information and adverse event reporting program. If you do suffer from Essure side effects and are interested in an Essure lawsuit, please call our office at (800) 521-4492 or contact us online to speak with our experienced staff who can connect you to an Essure attorney.

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Yaz Cases Currently Being Settled

by Cary Graham | March 29th, 2016

More than 28 percent of all women are currently taking birth control medication. Many of these medications are prescribed for purposes beyond contraception. For instance, Yaz, a popular birth control medication, is often prescribed to treat acne, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and headaches. Although the medication has been proven to help with these conditions, damaging side effects are leading many patients regretting ever taking the drug.

Yaz has been linked to serious health complications, such as heart problems, blood clots, and strokes. The culprit is one of the medication’s key components: drospirenone. Studies have shown that drugs that contain the synthetic hormone drospirenone increase the risks of serious heart-related health problems. For years, doctors have prescribed these medications under the assumption the drug would help their patients overcome non-life threatening conditions only to discover that the medications put their patients’ lives at risk.

If you or someone you love took Yaz or another form of birth control containing drospirenone and suffered blood clots, stroke, or other related heart conditions, call the drug injury attorneys at Ferrer, Poirot & Wansbrough today for a free evaluation of your claim. If the manufacturers are responsible for your injuries, we’ll hold them accountable. Let us protect your rights and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Call today.

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