Pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices can cause serious harm to patients. If you have been injured by a dangerous or defective drug, you may have a product liability claim that should be investigated with the help of capable legal counsel. Other claims can involve medical devices that do not work the way they are supposed to and cause a patient harm after the device is implanted during surgery. In any case involving a drug or device, it will be important for your lawyer to understand the federal regulatory scheme and what the Federal Drug Administration has said about the product, specifically, the specific manner in which it was approved for sale and use. These regulations can be complex, and it is important to find an experienced lawyer who can help assess the merits of your claim and any potential limitations based on federal regulations, statutes, and case law. Unfortunately, those rules can be very harsh at times, leaving many injured patients without any available remedy, for reasons that can be difficult to understand or justify, but we must work with the available framework, until Congress or the courts see fit to correct the existing law in this area.
The Babcock Law Firm has the experience to handle these kinds of claims and has managed or handled similar cases from early discovery through trial in federal and state courts throughout Georgia and the United States, including cases consolidated in the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as well as state court cases in Georgia, Florida, among other jurisdictions.
These types of claims are sometimes consolidated together before a particular federal district court judge for pretrial proceedings. This is called Multidistrict Litigation, or MDL for short. These claims are sometimes called mass torts and involve the types of claims related to a particular drug or device that is causing similar problems to patients throughout the United States. These claims are consolidated, with discovery handled in a consistent fashion, because the similarities involved in the claims make them more cost effective to handle together, to the extent possible, rather than having hundreds or thousands of cases with similar issues pending in separate courts around the country. However, in this type of litigation, there is always a trade-off, as there will also be less local control over the litigation. Moreover, while there are certain downsides to the MDL process, it can allow injured patients access to justice in cases where it would otherwise not be economically practicable to pursue such cases against well-funded drug and device manufacturers in a more traditional lawsuit. In such cases, the pretrial litigation is managed by a committee of lawyers for the plaintiffs and the manufacturer, with little involvement from your local lawyer, unless your attorney is on the steering committee or is otherwise helping manage the litigation. I have experience handling drug and device claims and can assist you with your options for your case, whether that means participating in the Multidistrict Litigation, or not, depending on the circumstances of your own case.
You may have heard of some of these types of cases, because they are often high-profile cases that are important for the plaintiffs involved, as well as the companies. This often leads to more news media coverage than a single, catastrophic case would garner. Some of the recent cases that have been in an MDL, or are currently consolidated for treatment before a federal MDL judge, include the following:
- Hip implant or hip metal on metal litigation
- Hernia Mesh litigation
- Essure birth control injury cases
- Invokana amputation injury lawsuit
- Taxotere cancer hair loss (alopecia) litigation
- Xarelto bleeding injury cases
- Mirena IUD lawsuit
- Pelvic repair litigation
- Roundup Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma or Multiple Myeloma cases
- IVC Filter injury litigation
- 3M Bair Hugger infection litigation
- Biomet hip litigation
- Zimmer NexGen Knee Implant case
- Abilify compulsive gambling litigation
- Takata airbag shrapnel injury cases
Obviously, not all of these claims related to bad prescription drugs or malfunctioning or poorly designed medical devices, but it is representative some of the current and past types of claims that have been consolidated in the MDL process.
In this type of case, the legal claims asserted will depend on the circumstances: what happened to the patient or Plaintiff, and the manufacturer’s actions or inactions. But generally, these types of claims could include a claim of a manufacturing defect, design defect, a failure to warn claim, or perhaps a breach of warranty claim.
In a manufacturing defect case, the allegation is that the product did not work as it was supposed to because something went wrong at the factory, like the device was not built according to specifications, or the drug was not formulated according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
In contrast, a design defect claim asserts that the device or drug was defective as designed, and that a problem inherent in the manufacturer’s plans or specifications caused the injury.
Failure to Warn
The other type of claim is a failure to warn claim. This type of claim asserts that the manufacturer should have warned you or your doctor about certain risks of the product, and they failed to do so, causing your injury.