Defective 3M Earplugs Leading to Mass Tort Claims among Service Members

Defective 3M ear plugsHundreds of U.S. veterans are suing 3M, one of the government’s largest contractors, over negligently constructed earplugs, arguing they caused permanent hearing damage. Allegedly, the earplugs did not maintain a tight seal, which allowed damaging sounds to go through the plugs, resulting in hearing loss and tinnitus among military service members returning home from duty between the years of 2003 and 2015.

Over 100 lawsuits have been filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, beginning a mass tort action that could lead to the Minnesota-based company, 3M, to pay millions in damages arising from the negligent construction of the earplugs.

3M Earplug Lawsuit: A Matter of Product Liability

The mass tort action against 3M falls under the realm of product liability. Under these laws, which vary from state to state, a manufacturer has a duty to use reasonable care in the design, manufacture, and distribution of a product. They are also required to provide adequate instructions for use, including applicable warnings and risks inherent in use. For example, under Ohio Revised Code 2307.71(14), a person may file a product liability claim if the product did not conform to the representation of the character, quality, or safety of the product as advertised.

In the case of 3M, the lawsuits allege the company represented the earplugs as filtering out damaging sounds while still allowing service members to hear commands and communicate with other soldiers, though they did not effectively filter out noise. Court documents revealed that 3M employees knew the units were defective as early as the year 2000. Still, the company continued to sell them as late as 2015, affecting the hearing of hundreds of combat veterans.

The lawsuit additionally alleges that testing completed by 3M found that they were defective, but the company falsified certification documents, stating that the plugs were in accordance with military standards.

Though 3M stopped making the earplugs in 2015, it entered a contract with the U.S. government in 2006, supplying 15,000 earplug packages (of 50 earplugs each) to the government annually. The defective earplugs were never recalled; active service members could still be using them today.

Anyone who served in the U.S. military between 2003 and 2015 and experienced hearing loss or balance issues may be able to join the 3M earplug lawsuit. Head attorneys on the case estimate that the hundreds of cases so far are only the tip of the iceberg. If you meet these criteria, contact our office now at 419-843-6663 or schedule a consultation online to discuss your case our experienced MDL and Personal Injury attorneys.

HIV Drug Litigation

Tenofovir DisoproxilMore than one million Americans currently live with HIV, and government estimates report that as many as 39,000 new infections occurred in 2017 alone. Since 2012, the rate of new infections has remained relatively constant in the United States, meaning the number of people living with HIV in the U.S. is steadily growing.

It is possible to transmit HIV through sexual contact or blood transfusion, and anyone diagnosed with HIV needs to know what to expect when it comes to treating and living with the condition. They should also know what to do if they have taken any of the dangerous HIV drugs released by Gilead Sciences and know their options for legal recourse.

Dangerous HIV Drug Leads to Litigation

Recently, 41 plaintiffs from various states filed suit in the Los Angeles County Superior Court against Gilead Sciences, the company responsible for the development and manufacture of the HIV drug Tenofovir Disoproxil (TDF). This antiviral drug commonly appears under the brand names Vemlidy and Viread, and the lawsuit alleges that Gilead Sciences was negligent in the production and sale of these substances.

The new lawsuit alleges that Gilead was aware of the highly toxic nature of TXF, specifically that the drug could cause irreversible damage to patients’ bones and kidneys. The lawsuit also alleges Gilead intentionally withheld a safer version of TDF, tenofovir alafenamide, also called TAF. This withholding occurred simply due to the fact that TDF is cheaper to produce and more profitable than TAF.

The Complaints against Gilead Sciences

This lawsuit has yet to be filed in a Federal District Court, but it is very likely to happen in the near future. The core of the suit is the fact that Gilead knew about the toxic nature of TDF yet released it anyway and prioritized its development over a safer alternative in pursuit of higher profits.

Viread and Vemlidy, the brand names of TDF, qualify as nucleoside analogs, substances which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have identified as capable of causing lactic acidosis and severe hepatomegaly with steatosis, and these effects have directly caused fatalities. Gilead Sciences essentially sold dangerous HIV drugs to ensure profitability when a safer but less lucrative alternative was easily available for release.

The primary complaint against Gilead Sciences includes plaintiffs from Alabama, Arkansas, California, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

If you or a loved one has taken Viread, Vemlidy, or TDF under any other name, you may be entitled to compensation if the drug had any adverse effects on your health. The attorneys at Gallon, Takacs, and Boissoneault Co., L.P.A. can help you determine your eligibility to join a class-action lawsuit already in progress or assess your individual legal rights to compensation. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about our potential recovery after suffering adverse effects from dangerous HIV drugs.

What to Know About the Emerging Uloric Litigation

uloric litigationUnsafe drugs can do much more than delay your recovery. They can cause a host of health complications you otherwise would not have suffered. Uloric (febuxostat) by the manufacturer Takeda Pharmaceuticals is currently the center of a possible multidistrict litigation for allegedly withholding the known risks of Uloric. If Uloric has injured you or a loved one, speak to an attorney about the developments in the case.

What Is Uloric?

Uloric is a drug physicians commonly prescribe to treat gout. It lowers uric acid levels in the body to relieve symptoms. Patients take Uloric once per day to remove extra uric acid. It may take several months for patients to feel the effects of Uloric. Uloric is one of the only Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drugs for treating gout.

Unfortunately, it could come with serious health risks.

The Risks of Taking Uloric

When the FDA approved Uloric in 2009, it required Takeda Pharmaceuticals to conduct a safety study of the drug. Uloric contained a Warning and Precaution about potential cardiovascular problems starting in 2009. When Takeda completed its safety trial on more than 6,000 patients, it found that Uloric can increase the risk of heart-related deaths compared to other gout medications. About 15 cardiovascular-related deaths occurred for every 1,000 patients taking Uloric.

The most common adverse outcomes in patients during the trial were heart-related death, non-deadly stroke and heart attack, and unstable angina (lack of proper blood flow to the heart). If a patient notices symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, numbness or weakness in the body, dizziness, or severe headache, they should see their doctors. Physicians should warn patients of the heart-related risks of Uloric before prescribing.

The Emerging Uloric Litigation

Cases against Takeda Pharmaceuticals allege that the company knew or should have known about the risks of Uloric, yet failed to warn patients. The litigation is seeking (took out multidistrict – it hasn’t been filed yet as an MDL) financial compensation for patients who suffered heart complications and other harms while taking Uloric. Patients may be eligible for payment for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages from Takeda for its negligence.

What to Do If You Think You Have a Case

If you or a loved one has taken Uloric for at least 30 days and is experiencing cardiovascular problems, speak to an attorney about joining the potential litigation concerning Uloric.

An attorney can investigate your situation, help you gather evidence, and take care of confusing paperwork to investigate your possible claim. Contact Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault Co. for assistance with your Uloric lawsuit.

Initial consultations are free.

Voluntary Valsartan Recall: What You Need to Know

Valsartan is a drug used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure. In June 2018, the FDA announced a voluntary recall of Valsartan due to the discovery of carcinogenic chemicals in the drug. Anyone who has taken Valsartan needs to know what this recall entails and what to do if they currently take this medication.

FDA Guidance on Valsartan

Valsartan’s main intended uses include the treatment of high blood pressure and heart failure conditions. However, the manufacturer issued a voluntary recall after identifying an impurity detected in this medication. The impurity is the presence of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a substance classified as a potential human carcinogen. The manufacturer identified recent changes in the production process as the probable cause of this impurity.

The FDA recommends that despite this recall, patients currently taking Valsartan do so for very serious health conditions, and interruptions in their medication dosage schedule can be disastrous for some individuals. The FDA advises continuing to take Valsartan until replacement doses become available. The manufacturers affected by the recall are taking appropriate steps to remove this impurity from their Valsartan products.

Patients can identify recalled drug products by checking their prescription labels and manufacturer information. Patients taking Valsartan made by Major Pharmaceuticals, Solco Healthcare, or Teva Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. should note these products have been recalled. The recall also applies to Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) produced by Solco Healthcare and Teva Pharmaceuticals, Ltd.

What to Do if You Currently Take or Have Taken Valsartan

Any person who confirms that he or she has taken or is taking any Valsartan medications affected by the recall should confirm the manufacturer of their medication and check the company’s recall information. Every company handles recalls differently, but most will encourage patients to continue taking their medications as prescribed until a safe replacement becomes available.

If you have concerns about your exposure to potentially harmful NDMA, speak with your primary care physician as soon as possible to learn more. A doctor may be able to prescribe a replacement or substitute product so the patient experiences minimal interruption in his or her medication schedule.

NDMA is a possible carcinogen, so it is unclear if there is any possibility of short-term cancer risk after taking Valsartan. The long-term health implications also remain unclear. Despite the possible risk of carcinogenic exposure, patients who take Valsartan do so for serious medical conditions that require consistent doses of these medications, and interruptions may cause serious health problems. Ultimately, patients taking recalled Valsartan medications should consult with their physicians and refer to manufacturers’ recall information in the meantime.

To review your case with a qualified personal injury attorney in Ohio, call Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault Co., L.P.A. at 419-843-6663 and request a free consultation today.